Volunteer Anesthesia for Endangered Animals


Since 1983, members of our department (initially Dr. Paul Ponganis, then Dr. Fred Mihm and others) have been involved in providing anesthesia care to exotic/endangered animal species at the San Francisco and San Diego Zoos, and in other locations. Endangered animals occasionally require anesthesia for health checkups, because of illness, or for specific treatments. These anesthetic procedures are undertaken with appropriate caution; all the people involved contemplate the risks of complications that may result in the loss of the precious animal.

Veterinarians have a long history of collaborating with human anesthesiologists; together they combine their respective expertise to enhance the safety of the anesthetic experience. A significant part of what we can provide is access to human monitoring equipment that can be adapted for use in most exotic animals. For example, using state-of-the-art monitoring (blood pressure, ECG, HR, SaO2, PetO2) is one way to ensure a successful recovery.