We evaluated the effectiveness and practicality of using isoflurane as an inhalation anesthetic with oxygen as a gas carrier for American martens (Martes americana) in a field setting. Sixty-eight martens were trapped in the Waswanipi Cree Model Forest (Québec, Canada) from October to November 2005 and anesthetized with isoflurane in 100% oxygen (1 l/min) using a face mask. Induction setting of isoflurane was 3% for all animals. Mean (±SD) length of induction was 1.8±1.2 min. Maintenance isoflurane settings ranged from 1% to 4%. Procedures lasted an average of 16.4±7.1 min and were uneventful. Length of recovery, defined as the interval between the end of the procedure and animal release, was short (6.3±2.8 min), and well below reported lengths of recovery using injectable anesthetics (≥70 min). As compared to open drop administration of isoflurane described in previous studies, the use of an anesthesia machine prevents the risk of potential fatal anesthetic overdose. We conclude that among anesthesia techniques currently available, isoflurane with oxygen as a gas carrier is a safe and useful field anesthetic in martens, when issues with equipment portability can be overcome.
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