Parenteral anesthetic protocols for short-term immobilization were evaluated in twenty 4-yr-old Gulf of Mexico sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus de soti). An initial dose–response trial determined the efficacy of either propofol (3.5–7.5 mg/kg, i.v.) or combinations of medetomidine (0.03–0.07 mg/kg, i.m.)–ketamine (3–7 mg/kg, i.m.). A subsequent study evaluated the physiologic effects of propofol (6.5 mg/kg, i.v.)-induced anesthesia and anesthesia induced with a medetomidine (0.06 mg/kg, i.m.)–ketamine (6 mg/kg i.m.) combination. The effects of medetomidine were reversed at 30 min with atipamezole (0.30 mg/kg, i.m.). Both drug protocols provided adequate short-term immobilization for minor diagnostic procedures. Sturgeon receiving propofol were in a light plane of anesthesia within 5 min after drug administration, whereas only 30% of the medetomidine–ketamine group reached a light plane of anesthesia in the same time period. Both propofol and medetomidine–ketamine resulted in mild bradycardia and apparent respiratory depression, with propofol producing more profound effects. At the dosages used in this study, both propofol and the medetomidine–ketamine combination effectively induced a light plane of anesthesia. Induction times were shorter in the propofol group.
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