If anaesthesia is required, there are a number of chemical combinations which can be used:
- 0.1-0.25mg/kg xylazine with 2.5-3.0mg/kg ketamine given IM provides 15-20 minutes profound sedation. 1
- Triple combination therapy: 0.5mg/kg xylazine with 5mg/kg ketamine and 0.05mg/kg butorphanol given IM gives up to 40 minutes profound sedation. This sedation can be prolonged by administering half these doses intravascularly every 30 minutes. 1
- Pre-medicate with 0.3mg/kg xylazine IV, followed 2-4 minutes later by 2mg/kg ketamine and 0.1-0.5mg/kg diazepam.1
- Intubation is always advised where possible - regurgitation and variable drug metabolism are potential problems of intravenous maintenance.
Regarding local anaesthetic/analgesic techniques, it is important to note the sensitivity of alpacas to lignocaine. As described in caesarian section of sheep and goats, dilution of 2% lignocaine 1:1 with sterile water can allow distribution in an inverted-L block without reaching toxic levels. For an epidural procedure, a recommended maximum volume of 2% lignocaine is 1.0ml for an adult alpaca or 2.0ml for a llama.1
1 Dougherty, Nigel - Practical alpaca medicine: Part one Veterinary Times (August 22, 2011)