To evaluate the use of xylazine/ketamine and isoflurane for the induction and maintenance of anesthesia in adult ostriches (Struthio camelus), 7 healthy adult ostriches (weight 100–130 kg) were deprived of food for 12 hours and then given an injection of xylazine (4 mg/kg IM), followed 20 minutes later by an injection of ketamine (8 mg/kg IV). After intubation, each bird was maintained on isoflurane anesthesia, and physiologic and hematologic parameters were measured. The respiratory rate and the systolic, diastolic, and mean blood pressures decreased significantly 10 minutes after delivery of isoflurane, and these decreases continued until the isoflurane was discontinued. Jaw and pedal withdrawal reflexes were useful indicators for evaluating muscle relaxation and depth of anesthesia in the ostriches while under general anesthesia. Recovery from anesthesia was relatively smooth, with minimal complications, and was complete at mean (SD) 50 ± 24 minutes after discontinuing isoflurane. From these results, we concluded that induction of anesthesia with xylazine-ketamine followed by maintenance with isoflurane produced sufficient anesthesia for performing surgical operations with relatively smooth recovery in adult ostriches.
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