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1 June 2018 ANESTHESIA OF AQUARIUM-HOUSED WALRUS (ODOBENUS ROSMARUS): A CASE SERIES
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Abstract

Walruses are a challenging species to anesthetize as a result of their large mass, limited access for drug delivery, unique physiology, and small number of reports describing anesthetic procedures. Three aquarium-housed walruses (Odobenus rosmarus) ranging in age from 3 to 11 yr old (344–1,000 kg) were anesthetized for dental or ophthalmic surgical procedures, with one animal anesthetized twice and one anesthetized three times. Preanesthetic medication was with intramuscular midazolam (0.1–0.2 mg/kg) and meperidine (2–3 mg/kg). A catheter was placed in the extradural intravertebral vein, and anesthesia was induced with propofol to effect. Orotracheal intubation was performed and anesthesia maintained with isoflurane in oxygen using a circle breathing system connected to a ventilator. Intermittent positive pressure ventilation was used in all procedures. For the ophthalmic surgery, the neuromuscular blocking agent, cisatracurium, was given intravenously to provide a central eye and optimal surgical conditions. The neuromuscular block was antagonized with edrophonium. Total anesthesia times ranged from 1.5 to 6 hr. Midazolam and meperidine were antagonized with flumazenil and naltrexone, respectively, in five of six cases. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents were provided for analgesia. Recoveries were calm and uneventful. The described anesthetic protocols and case management were successful under the conditions encountered.

Copyright 2018 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
Johanna Kaartinen, Stéphane Lair, Michael T. Walsh, Patrick Burns, Marion Desmarchelier, Jessica M. Pang, and Daniel S.J Pang "ANESTHESIA OF AQUARIUM-HOUSED WALRUS (ODOBENUS ROSMARUS): A CASE SERIES," Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 49(2), (1 June 2018). https://doi.org/10.1638/2017-0167.1
Accepted: 14 February 2018; Published: 1 June 2018
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