With the use of a crossover study design, we investigated the respiratory and cardiovascular effects of naloxone administration in eight healthy Rocky Mountain wapiti (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) anesthetized with carfentanil (10 μg/kg i.m.) and xylazine (0.1 mg/kg). Anesthetized animals showed profound hypoxemia with mild hypercapnia, tachycardia, hypertension, and acidosis prior to naloxone administration. After monitoring equipment was placed, animals were administered either naloxone (2 μg/μg carfentanil i.v.) or an equivalent volume of normal saline. Mean values for PaO2, PaCO2, heart rate, and respiratory rate were significantly different between naloxone- and saline-treated groups, but mean blood pressure, hematocrit, and serum electrolyte concentrations were not. Mean PaO2 was 23.0 ± 4.1 mm Hg prior to administration of naloxone or saline and increased to 50.2 ± 7.3 mm Hg after naloxone administration. Mean PaO2 of saline-treated animals did not change significantly. Electrocardiograms of three saline-treated animals suggested myocardial hypoxia. Hypoxemia appeared to be caused by respiratory depression, hemodynamic alterations, and lateral recumbency. All but one animal remained anesthetized after naloxone administration. Anesthesia in all animals was reversed in ≤4 min with naltrexone (100 mg/mg carfentanil i.v. s.c.) and yohimbine (0.1 mg/kg i.v.). One bolus of naloxone improved oxygenation in carfentanil–xylazine-anesthetized wapiti.
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Vol. 32 • No. 1