Thirty seven southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) were singularly or repeatedly immobilized with combinations of ketamine hydrochloride (HCl) and xylazine HCl or ketamine HCl and diazepam. Atropine sulphate was included in the drug combinations. To permit experimental procedures the seals were immobilized for periods of 30–330 min. The mean induction dose of ketamine HCl was 8.71 ± 0.25 mg/kg (mean ± SE). The mean induction time was 16.02 ± 2.62 min. For the elephant seals immobilized for periods in excess of 180 min, the mean dose of ketamine HCl used per hr was 3.31 ± 0.13 mg/kg/hr and the mean dose of ketamine HCl used per hr postinduction was 1.31 ± 0.15 mg/kg/hr. The mean dose of diazepam used was 0.09 ± 0.01 mg/kg and the mean dose of xylazine HCl was 0.41 ± 0.01 mg/kg. Elephant seals were weighed on 20 occasions (weight range: 897–1,932 kg) and the relationship between standard length and weight was found to be: Weight = 9.98 length − 2,317.63 (r2 = 0.724). Adverse reactions to seals immobilized only once or twice were not observed. Two seals immobilized on three occasions developed abscesses at the site of injection.
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Vol. 23 • No. 4