Immersion anaesthesia with ethanol in African giant land snails (Acathina fulica)

D'Ovidio, D and Monticelli, P and Santoro, M and Adami, C (2019) Immersion anaesthesia with ethanol in African giant land snails (Acathina fulica). Heliyon, 5 (4). e01546.

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Giant African land snails (Achatina fulica) are becoming increasingly popular pets and may be anaesthetised to allow diagnostics and surgical procedures. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the anaesthetic effects and anaesthetic-related complications of immersion in 5% ethanol in client-owned African pet land snails, anaesthetised to allow biopsies of the foot for screening of parasites. Variables such as minutes elapsing from immersion to anaesthetic induction and from removal from the bath to return of tentacle withdrawal reflex and recovery from anaesthesia were recorded, as well as the occurrence of adverse effects. Of the 30 snails enrolled, one (3.3%) had a fatal outcome whereas the remaining 29 (96.7%) snails completed the study and recovered from anaesthesia. Time to anaesthetic induction was 25 [25–29] minutes. Recovery was prolonged in one snail, which required 210 minutes to regain normal muscular strength. Time from removal from the ethanol solution to return of tentacle withdrawal reflex was 20 [14–42] minutes. Beside death, other observed adverse effects were production of bubbles (n = 4; 13.3%), and mucus secretion (n = 4; 13.3%). Immersion in 5% ethanol may be regarded as suitable anaesthetic technique for African giant snails for brief and moderately invasive surgical procedures. Nevertheless, recovery from anaesthesia may be prolonged and unpredictable.

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