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Effects of Yohimbine on Physiological Recovery Parameters of Anaesthetised Sows

27 March 2014

A new study at Iowa State University shows that yohimbine can be used by veterinarians to ensure a quicker recovery from anaesthesia in sows with minimal complications.

An experiment to evaluate the efficacy of yohimbine as an anesthetic reversal agent for sows anaesthetised with a combination of xylazine, ketamine and telazol was reported in the latest issue of Journal of Swine Health and Production.

Monique D. Pairis-Garcia and colleagues at Iowa State University and colleagues explain that anaesthesia was induced with xylazine, ketamine and telazol in a single syringe, injected intramuscularly (IM).

Following a 20-minute stabilisation period, palpebral reflex was evaluated, and if absent, sows were injected IM with sterile saline (control sows; n=12) or yohimbine HCl (0.1mg per kg; Yohimbine sows; n=12).

Data collected included insensibility measures (palpebral reflex, jaw tone, nose prick, alertness to human approach test, body posture) and physiologic measurements (heart rate, rectal temperature, respiratory rate, oxyhemoglobin saturation). Data was collected every 10 minutes until complete sensibility was attained.

Yohimbine sows recovered from anaesthesia 162 minutes earlier than control sows (P<0.01). For all insensibility measures, Yohimbine sows regained a normal response more quickly than control sows (P<0.001).

In addition, Yohimbine sows maintained greater heart rate (P<0.05) and rectal temperature (P<0.001) between onset of anaesthesia (i.e. the time anaesthetic agents were injected) to completion of the trial (when sow attained complete return to sensibility).

Respiratory rate and oxyhaemoglobin saturation were maintained within normal physiological ranges throughout anaesthesia, confirming that respiratory capability was not compromised under this anesthetic protocol.

Yohimbine is an effective reversal agent in sows anaesthetised with xylazine, ketamine and telazol administered simultaneously, concluded the Ames-based  researchers. They added that this agent can be used by veterinarians to ensure a quicker recovery from anaesthesia with minimal complications.


Pairis-Garcia M.D., A.K. Johnson, S.T. Millman, K.J. Stalder and L.A. Karriker. 2014. Effects of yohimbine, an alpha 2-antagonistic reversal agent, on physiological recovery parameters of anesthetized sows. J Swine Health Prod. 22(1):16-23.

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March 2014


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