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 [Additional Task Specific Module for Functions A and B as required] This module provides guidance and information to individuals who, during their work with animals, will need to apply sedation or short-term anaesthesia for a brief period and mild pain level procedure.

The objectives of this module are:

  • to introduce the course candidates to the administration of anaesthetics to laboratory animals;
  • to discuss anaesthesia under the following broad headings (pre anaesthetic considerations; effects of anaesthetic agents; anaesthetic administration; regional/local/ general anaesthesia; anaesthetic emergencies; recovery from anaesthesia);
  • to provide information on the effects of drugs used during anaesthesia;
  • to consider the potential adverse effects of anaesthesia and on recovery;
  • to discuss anaesthetic emergencies and their treatment and
  • to identify when anaesthesia may compromise science. The Learning Outcomes aim to give the minimum knowledge necessary for the appropriate and safe application of such a sedation or brief anaesthesia, with simple induction, basic maintenance for the purpose of performing minor procedures such as illustrated defined below:  
    • Simple induction process (e.g. chamber induction or simple IP administration, no requirement for endotracheal intubation) and - Basic “hands on” and “observational” monitoring of anaesthetic depth; maintenance is anticipated to be uncomplicated at a stable anaesthetic depth and maintenance rate.
    • Brief duration (up to about 15 minutes in a rodent species
    • maintenance of anaesthesia for imaging
    • if the anaesthesia is expected to last longer than this, the trainee would require further modules, see Module 10 below)”.
    • use for minor procedures only
    • non-invasive / superficial procedures only (skin level, no access to body cavities unless terminal anaesthesia is used), superficial venous access and taking a blood sample, identification using SC microchip or, tail tipping (limited biopsy of tip of tail), anaesthesia for restraint.
    • no pain or short / minor pain level,
    • no high-risk or sensitive animal.

Trainees should be able to:

20.1. Define sedation, local and general anaesthesia

20.2. Identify the three components of the triad of anaesthesia and understand that different anaesthetic agents produce these to different degrees.

20.3. Define balanced anaesthesia and indicate that this is best achieved by using drugs in combinations to achieve all components of the anaesthetic triad to an acceptable degree

20.4. Relate why and when sedation or anaesthesia might be used for restraint.

20.5. List the factors to be considered in pre-anaesthetic evaluation of animals - how to perform a basic health check, consider physiological or pathological status of the model they are working with and how these may influence the choice of anaesthetic agent.

20.6. Discuss the relative merits / drawbacks and principles of selection of different agents and their application, including calculation of doses, in relevant species, including injectable and volatile agents (or dissolved agents in the case of aquatic species), including local anaesthesia regimes

20.7. Indicate the importance of minimising stress prior to anaesthesia in reducing the likelihood of complications due to anaesthesia.

20.8. Recognise when premedication is beneficial to incorporate into an anaesthetic regime.

20.9. Describe and demonstrate the correct set-up, operation and maintenance of anaesthetic equipment appropriate to the species concerned.

20.10. Evaluate and appreciate the different levels and planes of anaesthesia (voluntary excitement, involuntary excitement, surgical anaesthesia (light, medium & deep), excessively deep).

20.11. List the factors indicating that an animal is suitably anaesthetized (stable and of appropriate depth) to enable procedures to be undertaken and what actions should be taken if an adverse event occurs. This will include basic “hands on” and “observational” anaesthetic monitoring techniques, including assessment of reflexes appropriate for species.

20.12. Describe methods of optimising post anaesthetic recovery (e.g. heat blankets, analgesia, reversal agents, access to food and water, environmental conditions) to ensure a smooth and rapid recovery from anaesthesia.

20.13. Demonstrate an understanding of safe / good working practices with regard to use, storage and disposal of anaesthetic and analgesic agents.