Orotracheal intubation carries greater difficulty in rodents than in most domestic species. The human laryngeal mask airway (LMA) was compared with an endotracheal tube (ETtube) for maintaining airway patency in anesthetized capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris). Six capybaras (24–52 kg) were remotely darted with intramuscular ketamine, midazolam, and acepromazine on two occasions (≥7-day intervals). After isoflurane mask induction for random placement of an ETtube or a LMA during each episode, anesthesia was maintained with isoflurane in oxygen under spontaneous ventilation for 90–120 min. Computed tomography of the pharynx and larynx was performed in two of six animals and three of six animals with the ETtube and LMA, respectively. End-tidal isoflurane [median (range)] was not significantly different between ETtube [0.6% (0.5–1.5%)] and LMA [0.6% (0.4–0.9%)]. Heart rate [67 ± 11 beats/min (ETtube) and 67 ± 18 beats/min (LMA)], mean arterial pressure [74 ± 13 mm Hg (ETtube) and 74 ± 14 mm Hg (LMA)], arterial CO2 tension [41 ± 2 mm Hg (ETtube) and 43 ± 4 mm Hg (LMA)], and arterial O2 tension [360 ± 59 mm Hg (ETtube) and 360 ± 63 mm Hg (LMA)] were not significantly different between treatment groups. Computed tomography showed gas in the esophagus with the LMA (three of three animals); the fit of the LMA to the larynx was adequate in two of three animals and fair in one of three animals. Recovery from anesthesia was uneventful. The LMA is a feasible alternative to the ETtube for maintaining airway patency during inhalant anesthesia in spontaneously breathing capybaras. However, the LMA may be dislodged during movement of the animal.
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