The relative efficacies and cardiorespiratory effects of three injectable anesthetic combinations containing medetomidine were evaluated in ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). In addition, the direct effects of medetomidine on heart rate and blood pressure were evaluated in lemurs anesthetized with isoflurane. For injectable anesthesia, captive adult ring-tailed lemurs were anesthetized with medetomidine and ketamine (0.04–0.06 mg/kg, i.m. and 3 mg/kg, i.m., respectively), medetomidine, butorphanol, and ketamine (0.04 mg/kg, i.m., 0.4 mg/kg, i.m., and 3 mg/kg, i.m., respectively), or medetomidine, butorphanol, and midazolam (0.04 mg/kg, i.m., 0.4 mg/kg, i.m., and 0.3 mg/kg, i.m., respectively). For inhalation anesthesia, lemurs were mask-induced and maintained with isoflurane for 30 min before receiving medetomidine (0.04 mg/kg, i.m.). Sedation produced by medetomidine–ketamine was unpredictable and of short duration. Both medetomidine–butorphanol–ketamine (MBK) and medetomidine–butorphanol–midazolam (MBMz) provided adequate anesthesia for routine physical exams; however, the effects of MBMz lasted longer than those of MBK. Heart rates and respiratory rates were within clinically normal ranges for all groups, and lemurs remained normotensive throughout the study. Common side effects such as hypertension and bradycardia associated with the use of α2-adrenergic receptor agonist combinations in other species were not observed. Likewise, medetomidine administration had no effect on HR in lemurs receiving isoflurane. Lemurs in all groups were well ventilated and remained well oxygenated throughout the procedures, though arterial partial pressure of O2 was lowest in the MBMz group. All three injectable medetomidine combinations were effective in ring-tailed lemurs but only MBK and MBMz provided adequate depth and duration of anesthesia for use as sole regimes. For many clinical procedures in lemurs, MBMz offers advantages over MBK because of its longer duration of action and its rapid and more complete reversibility with specific antagonists.
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Vol. 34 • No. 2