A combination of tiletamine-zolazepam/xylazine (TZ/X) is effective in the chemical immobilization of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus); however, the lengthy duration of immobilization may limit its usefulness. From October to November 2002, 21 captive female deer were assigned randomly to an α2 antagonist treatment to reverse xylazine-induced sedation (seven does per group). All deer were given 220 mg of TZ (4.5±0.4 mg/kg) and 110 mg of X (2.2±0.2 mg/kg) intramuscularly (IM). Antagonist treatments were either 200 mg of tolazoline (4.0±0.4 mg/kg), 11 mg of atipamezole (0.23±0.02 mg/kg), or 15 mg of yohimbine (0.30±0.02 mg/kg) injected, half intravenously and half subcutaneously, 45 min after the IM TZ/X injection. In addition, 10 other deer (five per group) were immobilized as before and then given tolazoline (200 mg) after 45 min, with either a carrier (dimethyl sulfoxide [DMSO]) or carrier (DMSO) plus flumazenil (5 mg) to reverse the zolazepam portion of TZ. Mean times from antagonist injection until a deer raised its head were different for α2 antagonist treatments (P = 0.02). Times were longer for yohimbine (62.3±42.7 min) than for either atipamezole (24.3±17.1 min) or tolazoline (21.3±14.3 min). Mean times from antagonist injection until standing were not different (P=0.15) among yohimbine (112.0±56.4 min), atipamezole (89.7±62.8 min), or tolazoline (52.6±37.2 min). A sedation score based on behavioral criteria was assigned to each deer every 30 min for 5 hr. On the basis of sedation scores, tolazoline resulted in a faster and more complete reversal of immobilization. Flumazenil treatment did not affect recovery.
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Vol. 40 • No. 3