Physiologic monitoring is important when chemically immobilizing wildlife. Blood oxygenation is usually monitored by pulse oximetry in the field; however, there is some question whether this technique accurately reflects oxygen saturation in wild white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). We evaluated different doses of medetomidine (125, 150, 175, or 200 μg/kg) mixed with ketamine (1.5 mg/kg), and tiletamine-zolazepam (1.0 mg/kg) in 22 female white-tailed deer at the University of Georgia Whitehall Deer Research Facility in Athens, Georgia on 14–15 and 21 May 2009. Deer were hand-injected intramuscularly while physically restrained in a squeeze chute, and then they were released into a pen for monitoring. Hemoglobin saturation estimated using pulse oximetry (SpO2) was compared with hemoglobin saturation value from arterial blood gases (SaO2) at 0, 10, and 20 min postimmobilization with deer in a sternal position. We made 56 simultaneous comparisons of oxygen saturation using SpO2 (range, 54–95%) and SaO2 (range, 60–95%). We used a Bland-Altman analysis for determining agreement between the two methods. Hemoglobin saturation estimated using SpO2 was generally greater than SaO2 when the mean of the two measurements was >80%. At mean values <80% oxygen saturation, there is not sufficient agreement between the techniques. Multiple readings over time may help recognition of outliers.
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Vol. 48 • No. 2