Anaesthesia of 2 five-year-old female African elephants (Loxodonta africana) was required for dental surgery. The animals were each premedicated with 120 mg of azaperone 60 min before transportation to the hospital. Before offloading, 1 mg etorphine was administered intramuscularly (i.m.) to each elephant to facilitate walking them to the equine induction/recovery room. For induction, 2 mg etorphine was administered i.m. to each animal. Induction was complete within 6 min. Surgical anaesthesia was induced with halothane-in-oxygen after intubation of the trunk. During surgery the mean heart rate was 61 and 45 beats/min respectively. Systolic blood pressures increased to 27.5 and 25.6 kPa respectively, and were treated with intravenous azaperone. Blood pressure decreased thereafter to a mean systolic pressure of 18.1 and 19.8 kPa, respectively. Rectal temperature was 35.6 and 33.9 degrees C at the onset of surgery, and decreased to 35.3 and 33.5 degrees C, respectively, at the end of anaesthesia. Etorphine anaesthesia was reversed with 5 mg diprenorphine at the completion of 90 min of surgery.