Etorphine-halothane anaesthesia in two five-year-old African elephants (Loxodonta africana)

J S Afr Vet Assoc. 1999 Dec;70(4):164-6. doi: 10.4102/jsava.v70i4.789.


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.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Analgesia / veterinary*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage*
  • Anesthesia, Inhalation / veterinary*
  • Anesthetics, Inhalation / administration & dosage*
  • Animals
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Body Temperature / drug effects
  • Elephants*
  • Etorphine / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Halothane / administration & dosage*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Immobilization


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Anesthetics, Inhalation
  • Etorphine
  • Halothane