A mixture of 120 mg ketamine hydrochloride (KHCL)/20 mg xylazine hydrochloride (XHCL)/ml was used to immobilize 37 wild mountain lions (Felis concolor) 46 times. Observations were recorded during 37 trials that included kittens, adult females, and adult males. Dosages were based on 11 mg KHCL and 1.8 mg XHCL/kg estimated body weight. Actual doses for 24 lions requiring a single injection for immobilization ranged from 4.7–15.8 mg KHCL/kg and 0.8–2.6 mg XHCL/kg. Induction, duration, and recovery times did not differ (P > 0.05) between the sex and age classes. Two kittens were overdosed with the drug combination, but the effects were not life threatening. Eleven other lions, nine of which were initially underdosed, required additional injections of the drug combination for safe handling. Immobilization was characterized initially by semi-consciousness, open eyelids, pupillary dilation, and muscle rigidity. Later, most lions appeared unconscious, muscles relaxed, and breathing slowed considerably. No convulsions or hypersalivation occurred. The KHCL/XHCL mixture given at approximately 11 mg KHCL and 1.8 mg XHCL/kg body weight proved useful for immobilizing wild mountain lions for research purposes. Suggestions for care of immobilized cats are included.
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