Because of the size, speed, and powerful kicking ability of adult ostriches (Struthio camelus), chemical immobilization and general anesthesia are commonly used in these animals to provide veterinary care. To determine the serum biochemical values in ostriches anesthetized with xylazine and ketamine and isoflurane, 7 healthy adult ostriches (weighing 100 to 130 kg) were fasted for 12 hours. Each bird received an intramuscular injection of xylazine (4 mg/kg), followed 20 minutes later by an intravenous injection of ketamine (8 mg/kg), and were then intubated and maintained under anesthesia with isoflurane gas. Jugular blood samples were collected from each bird immediately before, and 20 minutes after, administration of xylazine; 10 and 20 minutes after the administration of ketamine; 10, 30, and 50 minutes after the delivery of isoflurane; and 20 and 50 minutes after discontinuing isoflurane. Concentrations of potassium and glucose increased significantly after the administration of ketamine, and that increase was maintained until the end of the study period. During recovery, levels of creatinine and amylase increased significantly. We conclude that administration of xylazine and ketamine and isoflurane anesthesia may affect the concentration of some serum biochemical values. These results should be taken into account when blood samples are evaluated in chemically immobilized or anesthetized ostriches.
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