Prolonged, stable, non-recovery anaesthesia is required for the assessment of the effects of novel compounds on the cardiovascular system. A comparison of injectable anaesthetic agents and combinations (thiobarbital, fentanyl-fluanisone and midazolam, propofol, fentanyl-fluanisone and propofol, and alphaxalone/alphadolone) was made in laboratory rats and the following parameters assessed over 3 h: blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm, respiration rate and depth, analgesia, ease of induction and maintenance of anaesthesia. It was found that propofol, with fentanyl-fluanisone premedication, provided stress-free induction, easily controlled anaesthesia, good analgesia and muscle relaxation for surgery, for up to 3 h duration. Heart rate, blood pressure and respiration remained stable and within normal limits during this time. The other anaesthetics/combinations assessed did not rate as highly in these respects. Propofol, following fentanyl-fluanisone premedication, would appear to be a useful and safe anaesthetic for use in rodents, which avoids significant effects on heart rate or blood pressure.