Study Finds Optimal Catnip Oil Dosage for Effective Anesthesia

Jim Crocker
28th May, 2024

Study Finds Optimal Catnip Oil Dosage for Effective Anesthesia

Image Source: Annelies Brouw (photographer)

Key Findings

  • The study by the Federal University of Pará evaluated the anesthetic effects of Nepeta Cataria essential oil (EON) on juvenile tambaqui fish
  • EON effectively induced anesthesia in tambaqui at concentrations between 125 and 200 μL L-1
  • Higher concentrations of EON (175 and 200 μL L-1) caused changes in heart activity, including slower heart rates and altered ECG waveforms
  • The recommended safe concentration range for EON is 125 to 150 μL L-1, balancing effective anesthesia with minimal cardiac risks
The Federal University of Pará recently conducted a study to evaluate the anesthetic effects of essential oils from Nepeta Cataria (EON) on juvenile Colossoma macropomum, a species of fish commonly known as tambaqui. The study aimed to identify a safe concentration range for EON that would effectively induce anesthesia while ensuring the fish could recover without adverse effects[1]. Fish anesthesia is crucial for various aquaculture practices, such as handling, transport, and medical procedures. Previous studies have explored different anesthetics, including essential oils from plants like coriander, linaloe tree, and lavender, which have shown potential as effective anesthetic agents[2]. Another study highlighted the use of eugenol, the main component of clove oil, in Nile tilapia, demonstrating its efficacy and identifying a safe concentration window[3]. The current study expands on this body of knowledge by investigating the effects of EON on tambaqui. In the study, fish were exposed to EON at concentrations of 125 μL L-1, 150 μL L-1, 175 μL L-1, and 200 μL L-1 during a 5-minute immersion bath. The researchers conducted two main experiments. The first experiment focused on the latency to loss and recovery of the posture reflex, which is a key indicator of anesthesia and recovery. The second experiment involved electrocardiographic and heartbeat recordings to monitor the fish's cardiac activity during anesthesia and recovery. The results showed that all tested concentrations of EON effectively induced loss of the posture reflex, with fish regaining their posture reflex upon recovery. However, the electrocardiographic recordings revealed some morphographic changes at higher concentrations. Specifically, bradycardia (a slower heart rate) was observed during induction, and p wave apiculation (a change in the ECG waveform) occurred during recovery at the highest concentrations tested. These findings suggest that while EON is effective as an anesthetic, higher concentrations may pose risks to cardiac health. Based on the data, the researchers recommend a safe concentration range of 125 to 150 μL L-1 for short-term anesthesia in juvenile tambaqui. This range balances efficacy in inducing anesthesia with minimal adverse effects on cardiac activity, ensuring the fish can recover safely. The study's findings align with previous research on the use of essential oils as anesthetics in fish. For instance, the study on convict cichlids demonstrated that essential oils like those from coriander, linaloe tree, and lavender could serve as novel anesthetics, with optimal concentrations identified for effective anesthesia and recovery[2]. Similarly, the research on eugenol in Nile tilapia highlighted the importance of identifying safe concentration windows to avoid hemodynamic changes that could affect the fish's health[3]. In the context of global warming, which poses significant stress on fish populations due to rising ocean temperatures, understanding the effects of different anesthetics becomes even more critical[4]. Effective and safe anesthesia can help mitigate the additional stress caused by environmental changes, thereby supporting fish health and aquaculture sustainability. In conclusion, the study by the Federal University of Pará provides valuable insights into the use of Nepeta Cataria essential oil as an anesthetic for juvenile tambaqui. By identifying a safe concentration range, this research contributes to the broader effort to develop effective and safe anesthetic protocols in aquaculture, ensuring the well-being of fish during various handling and medical procedures.

MedicineBiochemAnimal Science


Main Study

1) Behavioral and electrophysiological study in Colossoma macropomum treated with different concentrations of Nepeta cataria oil in an immersion bath revealed a therapeutic window for anesthesia.

Published 27th May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Anesthetic Efficiency of Three Medicinal Plant Oils for Aquatic Species: Coriander Coriandrum sativum, Linaloe Tree Bursera delpechiana, and Lavender Lavandula hybrida.

3) Establishing a safe anesthesia concentration window for Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) (Linnaeus 1758) by monitoring cardiac activity in eugenol immersion baths.

4) Temperature increase and its effects on fish stress physiology in the context of global warming.

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