We report the clinical course and physiologic and anesthetic data for a case series of 76 free-ranging dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) chemically restrained, by remote injection from a helicopter, in the rangelands of Western Australia and South Australia, 2008–11, to attach satellite-tracking collars. Fifty-five camels were successfully anesthetized using medetomidine-ketamine (MK, n = 27) and medetomidine-ketamine-butorphanol (MKB, n = 28); the induction of anesthesia in 21 animals was considered unsuccessful. To produce reliable anesthesia for MK, medetomidine was administered at 0.22 mg/kg (±SD = 0.05) and ketamine at 2.54 mg/kg (±0.56), and for MKB, medetomidine was administered at 0.12 mg/kg (±0.05), ketamine at 2.3 mg/kg (±0.39), and butorphanol at 0.05 mg/kg (±0.02). Median time-to-recumbency for MKB (8.5 min) was 2.5 min shorter than for MK (11 min) (P = 0.13). For MK, the reversal atipamezole was administered at 0.24 mg/kg (±0.10), and for MKB, atipamezole was administered at 0.23 mg/kg (±0.13) and naltrexone at 0.17 mg/kg (±0.16). Median time-to-recovery was 1 min shorter for MK (5 min) than MKB (6 min; P = 0.02). Physiologic parameters during recumbency were not clinically different between the two regimes. Both regimes were suitable to safely anesthetize free-ranging camels; however, further investigation is required to find the safest, most consistent, and logistically practical combination.
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