The aim of this study was to describe the anesthetic effects of an injectable anesthetic protocol, based on ketamine, midazolam, and medetomidine, followed by inhalational sevoflurane, in 8 elegant-crested tinamous (Eudromia elegans) undergoing experimental surgery. Initial doses for both injectable agents were tested in 1 bird and then refined with an algorithm based on the effects observed in the pilot procedure. Heart and respiratory rates, as well as nociceptive reflexes, were evaluated before anesthesia (baseline) and intraoperatively, at 10 minute intervals. The time from injection to anesthetic induction and surgical anesthesia, as well as the time from atipamezole injection to recovery, was recorded for each bird. The median doses of medetomidine and ketamine were 0.075 mg/kg and 33 mg/kg, respectively. Anesthetic induction was achieved within 10 (range, 4–45) minutes from intramuscular injection, whereas time to surgical anesthesia was 22 ±16 minutes. The baseline heart rate values were significantly higher than those measured intraoperatively at any time point (P = .001). Intraoperatively, 5 of 8 tinamous (63%) developed cardiac arrhythmias. Other encountered complications were regurgitation in 2 birds (25%), cardiac arrest in 1 bird (13%) soon after injection of the anesthetic agents, and prolonged recovery in another bird (13%), which was euthanized. Necropsy of the 2 fatal outcomes (25%) showed evidence of hepatic lipidosis in both (100%) and intramyocardial fat accumulation in 1 bird (50%). This report highlights the challenges of tinamou anesthesia. Cardiac complications are common in this species, and close monitoring of intraoperative cardiovascular variables is recommended for prompt recognition and treatment.
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