Institute for Animal Studies

Animal Safety

The Safe Use of Ether as an Anesthetic for Animals

Ether can be used as a general anesthetic for animals, however it can be dangerous because of its' explosive tendencies. Ether is not a preferred anesthetic because of the risk of explosion and because it is a respiratory irritant for the anesthetized animal. Other, more modern anesthetics are strongly recommended, such as Isoflurane.

When used, ether MUST ALWAYS BE USED IN A FUME HOOD. Within a fume hood, ether can be used in a bell jar for induction of anesthesia, then inhalation can be continued via the use of a nose cone during a surgical procedure. When ether is used in animals, you must allow animals to off-gas in the fume hood overnight before disposing of the carcass in the freezer. Bottles of ether may be stored in the fume hood. Ether must not be stored in refrigerators or freezers due to ether's explosive properties.

Expired ether forms dangerous peroxides which, when jolted, may explode. Dispose of outdated bottles of ether via the Einstein Environmental Health and Safety Department. All use of ether must be approved as part of your animal use protocol, and the locations for use and storage of ether must be approved by Einstein EH&S before you use ether in animals.

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