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A comparison of cardiopulmonary and anesthetic effects of an induction dose of alfaxalone or propofol in dogs


Correspondence: Jill Maney, Department of Large Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA. E-mail:



To compare the physiological parameters, arterial blood gas values, induction quality, and recovery quality after IV injection of alfaxalone or propofol in dogs.

Study design

Prospective, randomized, blinded crossover.


Eight random-source adult female mixed-breed dogs weighing 18.7 ± 4.5 kg.


Dogs were assigned to receive up to 8 mg kg−1 propofol or 4 mg kg−1 alfaxalone, administered to effect, at 10% of the calculated dose every 10 seconds. They then received the alternate drug after a 6-day washout. Temperature, pulse rate, respiratory rate, direct blood pressure, and arterial blood gases were measured before induction, immediately post-induction, and at 5-minute intervals until extubation. Quality of induction, recovery, and ataxia were scored by a single blinded investigator. Duration of anesthesia and recovery, and adverse events were recorded.


The mean doses required for induction were 2.6 ± 0.4 mg kg−1 alfaxalone and 5.2 ± 0.8 mg kg−1 propofol. After alfaxalone, temperature, respiration, and pH were significantly lower, and PaCO2 significantly higher post-induction compared to baseline (< 0.03). After propofol, pH, PaO2, and SaO2 were significantly lower, and PaCO2, HCO3, and PA-aO2 gradient significantly higher post-induction compared to baseline (< 0.03). Post-induction and 5-minute physiologic and blood gas values were not significantly different between alfaxalone and propofol. Alfaxalone resulted in significantly longer times to achieve sternal recumbency (p = 0.0003) and standing (p = 0.0004) compared to propofol. Subjective scores for induction, recovery, and ataxia were not significantly different between treatments; however, dogs undergoing alfaxalone anesthesia were more likely to have ≥1 adverse event (= 0.041). There were no serious adverse events in either treatment.

Conclusions and clinical relevance

There were no clinically significant differences in cardiopulmonary effects between propofol and alfaxalone. A single bolus of propofol resulted in shorter recovery times and fewer adverse events than a single bolus of alfaxalone.