OBJECTIVE To evaluate effects of alfaxalone on heart rate (HR), opercular rate (OpR), results of blood gas analysis, and responses to noxious stimuli in oscar fish (Astronotus ocellatus). ANIMALS 6 healthy subadult oscar fish. PROCEDURES Each fish was immersed in water containing 5 mg of alfaxalone/L. Water temperature was maintained at 25.1°C, and water quality was appropriate for this species. The HR, OpR, response to noxious stimuli, and positioning in the tank were evaluated, and blood samples for blood gas analysis were collected before (baseline), during, and after anesthesia. RESULTS Immersion anesthesia of oscar fish with alfaxalone (5 mg/L) was sufficient for collection of diagnostic samples in all fish. Mean ± SD induction time was 11 ± 3.8 minutes (minimum, 5 minutes; maximum, 15 minutes), and mean recovery time was 37.5 ± 13.7 minutes (minimum, 20 minutes; maximum, 55 minutes). There was a significant difference in OpR over time, with respiratory rates significantly decreasing between baseline and anesthesia and then significantly increasing between anesthesia and recovery. There was no significant difference in HR over time. Median lactate concentrations were significantly increased in all anesthetized fish. Other physiologic or blood gas variables did not change significantly. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Alfaxalone should be considered as a readily available and easy-to-use anesthetic for oscar fish. Because it is more likely to be found in veterinary hospitals than other traditional anesthetics for fish, its value as an anesthetic for other species of fish should also be considered.
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