Evaluating the Clinical and Cardiopulmonary Effects of Clove Oil and Propofol in Tiger Salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum)

Mark A. Mitchell, Shannon M. Riggs, C. Bradley Singleton, Orlando Diaz-Figueroa, Lorrie K. Hale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Our understanding of clinical anesthesia for amphibians is limited. This study represents the first attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of clove oil and propofol as anesthetic agents for tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum). Twelve apparently healthy adult tiger salamanders were anesthetized in a water bath containing clove oil (450 mg/L of water). After a 2-week wash-out period, 11 of the salamanders were used to evaluate the effectiveness of propofol as an anesthetic agent. Propofol was administered intracoelomically at a dose of 25 mg/kg (n = 5) or 35 mg/kg (n = 6). Heart and respiratory rates were monitored at 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-, 30-, 40-, 50-, 60-, 70-, 80-, 90-, 100-, 120-, 150-, and 180-minute intervals after exposure to the anesthetics. Righting, escape, corneal, superficial pain, and deep pain reflexes were also monitored at these time intervals and ranked as (1) normal, (2) slow, or (3) absent. Surgical anesthesia was determined to be when all of the reflexes were lost. Clove oil produced a surgical level of anesthesia in 67% (8/12) of the salamanders. Propofol administered at 25 mg/kg produced surgical anesthesia in 40% (2/5) of the salamanders, whereas propofol at 35 mg/kg produced surgical anesthesia in 83% (5/6) of the animals. Clove oil did not significantly (P > 0.05) affect respiratory rate at any time, but did decrease heart rate significantly (P < 0.05) after 30 minutes. Propofol produced a significant (P < 0.05) reduction in the respiratory rate at both doses. Heart rate was also found to decrease significantly (P < 0.05) for propofol at 25 mg/kg after 90 minutes and for propofol at 35 mg/kg at 60 minutes and after 80 minutes. Both clove oil and propofol were found to provide a surgical plane of anesthesia for tiger salamanders. However, clove oil provided more rapid onset of the desired level of anesthesia with a longer duration. Although the intracoelomic route for propofol was effective, the time to surgical anesthesia was prolonged. These anesthetics show promise and may prove useful to veterinarians or field biologists working with urodelans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Exotic Pet Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • Ambystoma tigrinum
  • amphibian
  • anesthesia
  • clove oil
  • propofol
  • tiger salamander

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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