We used physiological parameters and the duration and quality of anesthesia to compare the effects of two ambient temperatures and of the duration of pre-immobilization confinement on the chemical immobilization of fallow deer. We divided 45 free-ranging fallow deer (Dama dama) into two groups: Group A were deer captured in winter (average 12 C), using 1 mg/kg of xylazine and 1 mg/kg of tiletamine-zolazepam; and Group B were deer captured in spring (average 24 C), using 2 mg/kg of xylazine and 1.5 mg/kg of tiletamine-zolazepam, after being confined in a pen. We observed lower mean respiratory rate and oxygen saturation in Group B. In contrast, the mean body temperature and the mean blood lactate concentration were significantly higher in Group B, and quality of anesthesia was better in Group A. Mean induction time (time to achieve recumbency) and durations of recumbency were the same in Groups A and B: approximately 8 and 50 min, respectively. Despite the lower drug dosage, better sedation was obtained in Group A than in group B. The time of year, most likely associated with differences in ambient temperature and in confinement, influenced the recommended dosage for xylazine and tiletamine-zolazepam in fallow deer. As all the animals were sound, we concluded that the only factors that influenced the outcome of the present study were the ambient temperature and the level of stress caused by confinement in the pen.
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Vol. 53 • No. 2