Yohimbine hydrochloride (YH) effectively reversed the immobilizing effects of ketamine hydrochloride (KH) combined with xylazine hydrochloride (XH) in 48 wild polar bears (Ursus maritimus) handled in the summer. Single intravenous doses of YH ranging between 0.029 and 0.198 mg/kg resulted in a median time of 10 min (range: 1–123 min) to post-injection recovery from KH-XH immobilization. Convulsions and muscle twitching were observed in some bears after YH was administered and one death occurred. Median respiratory rate and heartbeat rate increased from 5 br/min to 12 br/min and 51 BPM to 79 BPM, respectively, soon after yohimbine was administered. The median time to recovery after KH-XH administration, including processing and handling time, was 113 min for bears administered yohimbine and 202 min for bears not administered YH. After YH-induced recovery, polar bears showed signs of reduced awareness and many remained recumbent for undetermined periods although they could coordinate movements, stand, and walk or run if disturbed. YH proved to be a useful antagonist to immobilization induced by KH-XH in a field situation.
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