Snake Sedation and Anesthesia

Daniel Almeida, Martin Kennedy, Erin Wend-Hornickle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Snakes can be more challenging to anesthetize compared with other animals because of anatomic and physiologic differences, a wide range of patient sizes, and variable responses to anesthetic agents. Snakes have preferred optimal temperature zones, which, along with physiologic characteristics, such as the ability to shunt blood toward or away from the lungs, can have an impact on anesthesia. Injectable agents, including benzodiazepines, α 2-agonists, opioids, propofol, and alfaxalone, as well as inhalant anesthetics can be used to anesthetize snakes. Pain management must be incorporated to the anesthetic plan when performing procedures that are expected to produce nociception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-112
Number of pages16
JournalVeterinary Clinics of North America - Exotic Animal Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Dr Miranda Sadar for kindly providing the pictures used in this article. The authors have no commercial or financial interests to disclose and did not receive funding for this work.


  • Analgesia
  • Anesthesia
  • Reptile
  • Sedation
  • Snake
  • Zoo animal
  • Zoologic companion animal
  • Anesthetics/adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Snakes
  • Anesthesia/veterinary

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Review
  • Journal Article


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