A Guide to Nasotracheal Intubation in Rabbits

Key Points

  • Endotracheal intubation is the gold standard for any anesthetized patient, regardless of species. Intubation provides a patent and protected airway, allows undiluted administration of oxygen and inhalant anesthetic agents to the patient, and reduces environmental pollution with volatile anesthetics. Endotracheal intubation also permits effective positive pressure ventilation.
  • Endotracheal intubation allows accurate end-tidal carbon dioxide monitoring. Capnography can be used for guidance during the intubation process as well as to provide respiratory and cardiovascular feedback during the anesthetic period.
  • Rabbit intubation can be accomplished using either an orotracheal or nasotracheal technique. Both intubation methods can be challenging in rabbit patients and require patience and practice.
  • Nasotracheal intubation may be the preferred approach in situations where maximum access and maneuverability is required in the oral cavity. Nasotracheal intubation is also preferred where an extended recovery is expected.
  • Nasotracheal intubation should be avoided in patients with known or suspected upper respiratory infections or situations in which one or both sides of the nasal passage have preexisting edema or narrowing.

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