Intravenous ketamine for long term anesthesia in rats

Robert A. Linsenmeier*, Lisa Beckmann, Andrey V. Dmitriev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Ketamine/xylazine anesthesia has been used primarily for short term procedures in animals, but two prior reports used intravenous ketamine/xylazine for experiments taking many hours. However, there is a discrepancy about the appropriate dose, which is resolved here. Adult Long-Evans rats were used for recording from the retina. Doses of Ketamine/xylazine were adjusted to minimize anesthetic in terminal experiments lasting 10 h. An allometric relation was fitted to the resulting data on doses as a function of body weight, and compared to prior work. The allometric relationship between the continuously infused specific dose and weight was: dose = 9.13 (weight)−1.213 (r2 = 0.73), where dose is in mg-kg−1-hr−1 and rat weight is in kg. The dose of xylazine was 3.3% of the ketamine dose. No attempt was made to explore different relative doses of xylazine and ketamine. Prior work is consistent with this relationship, showing that the earlier discrepancy resulted from using rats of different sizes. Ketamine at the doses used here still depressed the electroretinogram relative to historical controls using urethane. We conclude that intravenous ketamine dosing in rats should not use the same mg-kg−1-hr−1 dose for all rats, but take into account the strong allometric relationship between dose and rat weight. There is an advantage in using smaller doses in order to prevent unnecessary depression of neural responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere05686
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Anesthesia
  • Biological sciences
  • ERG
  • Electroretinogram
  • Ketamine
  • Laboratory medicine
  • Neuroscience
  • Ophthalmology
  • Physiology
  • Rat
  • Retina
  • Xylazine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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