The efficacies and ease of administration of four oral preanesthetic sedation protocols were compared in 18 adult, male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) to achieve heavy sedation and alleviate anxiety, agitation, and potential trauma associated with remote anesthesia induction. The macaques, with average age and weight of 10 yr and 12.5 kg, respectively, were randomly assigned to one of four groups. Group 1 was given 10 mg/kg tiletamine– zolazepam and 0.05 mg/kg medetomidine p.o., group 2 was given 1 mg/kg midazolam and 20 mg/kg ketamine p.o., group 3 was given 20 mg/kg ketamine and 0.05 mg/kg medetomidine p.o., and group 4 was given 3 mg/kg midazolam p.o. All protocols produced effects ranging from mild sedation to no response to noxious stimuli, depending on the success of administration. The mean interval to peak effect was 27–43 min in all groups. Ketamine and medetomidine provided significantly better sedation than midazolam alone; there were no other statistically significant differences among the four protocols. Oral tiletamine–zolazepam and medetomidine provided smooth, mild to moderate sedation with few side effects. The midazolam and ketamine combination resulted in severe ataxia. Orally administered ketamine and medetomidine provided smooth, easily reversible, heavy sedation leading to no response to noxious stimuli. Midazolam alone provided only mild sedation. No statistically significant differences in palatability of the four protocols were identified. Orally administered ketamine and medetomidine (group 3) provided the most consistently heavy sedation. A compounding pharmacy may be able to increase the palatability and level of acceptance of these combinations. Alternatively, oral midazolam syrup is well accepted by some animals and provides a mild sedative and calming effect, which may decrease stress associated with the induction of anesthesia via darting, pole syringes, etc.
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