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Mammals (other)
Alfaxalone-butorphanol-dexmedetomidine anaesthesia in striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) undergoing skin biopsy: two cases
  1. Dario d'Ovidio1,
  2. Emilio Noviello2,
  3. Maurizio Nocerino3 and
  4. Chiara Adami4
  1. 1Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Productions, University of Naples Federico II, Naples, Italy
  2. 2Veterinari Esotici Campani, Naples, Italy
  3. 3Private practitioner, Naples, Italy
  4. 4Clinical Sciences and Services, The Royal Veterinary College – University of London, Hawkshead Campus, North Mymms, AL97TF Hatfield, Herts, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Chiara Adami; cadami{at}


Skunks are becoming increasingly popular as pets. As such, they often undergo a variety of surgical procedures. Two pet skunks undergoing a dermatological examination, including skin biopsy, were anaesthetised with a combination of dexmedetomidine (0.02 mg/kg), butorphanol (0.3 mg/kg), and alfaxalone (4 mg/kg), all administered intramuscularly. Anaesthesia was characterised by rapid onset, absence of detectable side effects and fast recovery after atipamezole administration. Biopsies and toe-pinch did not elicit cardiorespiratory responses, nor did it result in movements or lightening of the anaesthetic depth. Both skunks recovered uneventfully, and showed normal appetite and regular defecation within eight hours following surgery. However, both the animals experienced mild hypothermia at recovery. The dexmedetomidine-alfaxalone-butorphanol combination produced satisfactory anaesthesia in the two skunks, object of this report. This anaesthetic protocol may be used in this species to provide immobility, myorelaxation, unconsciousness and analgesia during skin biopsy or other minor surgical procedures.

  • Alfaxalone
  • Dexmedetomidine
  • Butorphanol
  • Anaesthesia
  • Skunks
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