Thirteen wild-caught white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) from two different holding sites were chemically immobilized to facilitate capture, processing, and translocation to a new facility. The deer were divided into two treatment groups on the basis of age and received i.m. injections of the immobilizing agents via remote drug delivery systems. Group 1 (<1 yr old; n = 6) animals were immobilized with a combination of xylazine 1 mg/kg i.m. and azaperone 0.3 mg/kg i.m. At the end of the procedure the deer received zuclopenthixol acetate 1 mg/kg i.m. and (to antagonize the xylazine) tolazoline 2 mg/kg i.m. Group 2 (>1 yr old; n = 7) deer were administered xylazine 1 mg/kg i.m., tiletamine–zolazepam 1 mg/kg i.m., and ketamine 1 mg/kg i.m. The deer in this group received a combination of azaperone 0.3 mg/kg i.m. and zuclopenthixol acetate 1 mg/kg i.m. before reversal with tolazoline 2 mg/kg i.m. All deer were recovered in a trailer before being moved in small groups to the new facility and released into the new enclosures. Azaperone and zuclopenthixol acetate provided short- and long-term relief from anxiety and allowed the animals to gradually become familiar with their new surroundings without excitement, injuries, or mortalities. Two deer exhibited mild signs of extrapyramidal side effects, which suggests that they may have received a relative overdose of the tranquilizers.
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Vol. 33 • No. 2