Alpaca anaesthesia

These information sheets are provided for your interest. They should not replace veterinary advice from your veterinary surgeon.

Whilst every effort is taken to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information provided, your specific circumstances must be discussed before advice can be given.

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)