Results of an online survey posted on the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians listserv examined the patterns of analgesic medication and pain management modalities used for captive giraffe and hippopotami. Compiled data included signalment, drugs administered, dosing regimens, subjective efficacy scores, ease of administration, and adverse events. Nineteen institutions exhibiting hippopotami (Hippopotamus amphibious) and pygmy hippopotami (Choeropsis liberiensis) and 45 exhibiting giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis spp.) responded. Phenylbutazone was the most-commonly administered nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), followed by flunixin meglumine, but doses varied widely. Eight institutions reported adverse events from NSAID administration. Tramadol was the most-commonly administered opioid followed by butorphanol. Only one adverse event was reported for opioids. Twenty-three of 45 institutions exhibiting giraffe utilized alternative analgesia methods including gabapentin, glucosamine-chondroitin, local anesthetics, and low level laser therapy. Six of 19 institutions exhibiting hippopotami administered omega 3-6 fatty acids, gabapentin, glucosamine-chondroitin, and α-2 adrenergics to provide analgesia. While all reporting zoological institutions administered similar drugs, there was substantial variation and diversity in both dosing regimens and frequencies, indicating the need for both preclinical and clinical studies supporting dosing regimens.
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