Twelve reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus) were immobilized by hand injection in indoor stalls with established optimal hand-injection doses of medetomidine–ketamine and then moved to outside paddocks where they were immobilized again with the same dose by dart. The reindeer in paddocks were immobilized a second time with a 50% higher dose, hereafter referred to as the optimal darting dose. Mean time to first sign of sedation was longer and mean induction time was significantly longer (55% and 79%, respectively) when the optimal hand-injection dose was dart injected versus hand injected. Mean time to first sign of sedation was not significantly shorter (although 21% shorter, numerically) but mean induction time was significantly shorter (30%) when animals were darted with the optimal darting dose versus darted with the optimal hand-injection dose. There were no significant differences in respiratory rate, rectal temperature, and relative arterial oxygen saturation in animals injected with different doses and by different routes, but there was a significantly lower heart rate in animals dart injected with the optimal darting dose versus dart injected with the optimal hand-injection dose. All animals responded at similar rates to atipamezole injection.
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