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Mammals (other)
Presumptive buprenorphine associated intraoperative apnoea and prolonged recovery in a giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) during castration for testicular neoplasia
  1. Samuel Lord1,
  2. Simon Justin Girling2,
  3. Caroline Eivers3,
  4. Romain Pizzi4 and
  5. Ambra Panti5
  1. 1Clinical Studies, The University of Edinburgh Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies, Easter Bush, UK
  2. 2Animal Department, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3Diagnostic Imaging, University of Glasgow College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences, Glasgow, UK
  4. 4Wildlife Surgery International, Roslin, Midlothian, UK
  5. 5Anaesthesia, University of Edinburgh Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, Midlothian, UK
  1. Correspondence to Mr Samuel Lord; slord{at}


A 14-year-old giant panda presented with unilateral scrotal swelling. Palpation and conscious ultrasound were suggestive of testicular neoplasia. Anaesthesia was required to obtain radiographs and MRI. Immobilisation was achieved with ketamine and medetomidine, and anaesthesia was maintained with sevoflurane in oxygen. Tumours were discovered in both testes and castration was performed. before surgery buprenorphine was administered by slow intravenous injection. Apnoea occurred after approximately 10 mcg/kg had been injected so administration was discontinued. Manual ventilation was required for the majority of the general anaesthetic duration. Spontaneous ventilation returned shortly before transfer to the recovery area. Intramuscular atipamezole administration did not induce a normal recovery; the panda remained profoundly sedated. Further atipamezole had no effect. Due to the apnoea associated with buprenorphine administration during general anaesthesia naltrexone was administered resulting in the panda standing within 5 min post injection.

  • Analgesia
  • Anaesthesia
  • Zoo animals
  • Oncology
  • Giant Panda
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  • Contributors SL was involved with anaesthesia of the case and wrote the initial manuscript. SJG was primary clinician in charge of the case and offered revisions to the manuscript. CE was involved in imaging of the case and wrote the imaging sections of the manuscript as well as offering revisions. RP performed the surgery, wrote the surgical section of the manuscript and offered revisions and AP was involved with anaesthesia of the case and was responsible for multiple revisions to the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement There are no data in this work.

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