First broadcast on on December 19th 1999

Reptiles feel pain just like any other veterinary patient and pain relief should be given when appropriate

Reptiles demonstrate a typical pain response to noxious stimuli just like other animals, and so control of pain is very important following an injury or surgical procedure.

The following table shows the analgesic properties of therapeutic agents and anaesthetics currently in use in reptiles : 

Therapeutic Agent Dose Route Comments
Cold - - Not acceptable. Cold slows reflexes, but does not provide any analgesia
Buprenorphine * 0.01mg/kg IM Good analgesia. 
Butorphanol * 0.4-25mg/kg IM, IV, SC Good analgesia
Carprophen * 1-4mg/kg IM, IV, SC, PO Analgesia lasts 24 hours
Flunixin meglumine * 0.1-0.5mg/kg IM Analgesia lasts 12-24 hours. Maximum use - 3 days
Gallamine 0.4-1.0mg/kg (crocodilians) IM No analgesia
Ketamine * 10-100mg/kg IM Sedative/anaesthetic. No analgesia
Ketoprofen * 2mg/kg IM, SC Analgesia lasts 24 hours
Meloxicam * 0.1-0.2mg/kg PO Analgesia lasts 24 hours
Opiods (Etorphine) 0.05-5.0mg/kg   (crocodilians) IM Good analgesia
Opiods (Etorphine) 0.5-2.75mg/kg (turtles) IM Good analgesia
Pethidine * 20mg/kg IM Analgesia last 12-24 hours
Prednisolone * 2-5mg/kg IM, PO Use to manage chronic pain
Suxamethonium 0.25-5.0mg/kg (crocodilians and tortoises)


IM No analgesia
Tiletamine/zolazepam * 4-5mg/kg IM Anaesthetic. No analgesia

* Based upon information presented at the North American Veterinary Conference (1999) by Martin Lawton of the Exotic Animal Centre, Romford, Essex, England.


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