A dose range was determined for anesthesia of recently bomacaptured Lichtenstein's hartebeest (Sigmoceros lichtensteinii) (n = 13) with the synthetic opiate thiafentanil (THIA) (formerly called A3080) combined with medetomidine (MED) and ketamine (KET) in the Kasungu National Park, Malawi on 4 to 5 September 1999. The dose range of 11–26 μg/ kg THIA (mean ± SD = 21 ± 4 μg/kg) combined with 5–10 mg/kg MED (8 ± 1 μg/kg) plus 0.7–1.4 mg/kg KET (1.1 ± 0.2 mg/kg) was found to be safe and effective for the field conditions associated with this study. The anesthesia produced by this drug combination was very predictable and characterized by a short induction time (3:34 ± 1:20 min : sec), good muscle relaxation, and acceptable physiologic parameters for anesthesia periods ranging from 22:30–35:00 min : sec (31:14 ± 2:50). Within the range of doses used in this study, times to onset of initial effects and recumbency were not dependent on THAI, MED, or KET doses. Anesthesia was rapidly and completely reversed by intravenous injections of naltrexone at 30 times the THAI dosage (0.69 ± 0.19 mg/kg) and atipamezole at about four times the MED dosage (38 ± 14 μg/kg). There was no residual effect from ketamine noted following reversal of THIA and MED and no mortality or morbidity was associated with this anesthetic regimen.
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