Guys! It happened! Dr. Joanna Webb, resident extraordinaire, started her research prospective study (post pilot study) on Alfaxalone, an anesthetic agent in our bearded dragon colony. Dr. Webb is looking to see if this specific anesthetic is an appropriate agent to use in bearded dragons and prairie rattlesnakes.
So what does this study entail? A LOT of work! Dr. Webb is administering Alfaxalone to our 10 beardies in different methods and then monitoring key vital parameters and movements every 5 minutes post administration. Data recorded includes (but is not limited to!): heart rate, respiratory rate, deep pain, righting reflex, and withdrawal reflex. Each bearded dragon trial takes 2 days, for 5 hours a day, and Dr. Webb is doing 4 trials.
Bryce and I both had the privilege to help Dr. Webb with this study. Our help included bearded dragon handling, bearded dragon monitoring, and data collection. It was a great experience to monitor these beardies and contribute to this research.
And finally: why is this research so awesome and important and relevant? Anesthesia in reptiles (like bearded dragons and rattlesnakes) is minimally studied and not well understood. This study will help contribute to the ever-expanding base of knowledge on reptile anesthesia and will ALSO improve the standard of care that reptile patients receive!
Shout out to Dr. Webb and Dr. Keller (her amazing mentor!) for adding to this knowledge and working every day to enhance both reptilian and mammal wildlife and pet care!