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Swan Anaesthesia

Article Published in “The Veterinary Record” April 29 1995

SIR, – I would like to report the success we are having with anaesthesia of the mute swan (and other swans) here at the Swan Sanctuary. Since June 1992 we have anaesthetised around 220 swans in order to repair their injuries, many of which are severe. Induction of anaesthesia is achieved by injection of piopofol (Rapinovet; Mallinckrodt) delivered into the medial tarsal vein. Isoflurane (Abbott), sometimes in combination with nitrous oxide, is used for maintenance, administered, after tracheal intubation, via Bain or modified Ayre T-piece circuit. No preoperative starving or premeditation is necessary, but intraoperative administration of intravenous fluids is routine.

Recovery is usually smooth and rapid, and it is common for the patients to be feeding again 20 minutes after cessation of anaesthesia. Having such safe anaesthesia has greatly increased the patient survival rate. The rapid recovery allows prompt discharge from intensive care to the recovery ponds, which not only improves the physical but also the mental well being of the swans.

We are always happy to give advice or practical help on any aspect of swan care.

Sally Goulden

The Swan Sanctuary

Felix Lane, Shepperton

TW17 8NN

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