Inhalational agents can be used to provide safe and effective anaesthesia in virtually all laboratory species. A number of different anaesthetic agents are available – isoflurane, desflurane, sevoflurane and nitrous oxide. Modern volatile anaesthetic agents are very potent. All are liquids at room temperature and vaporise readily, so they must be delivered using a purpose-made vaporiser.
The concentration of anaesthetic needed to induce and maintain anaesthesia varies between the different agents.