Capture and anesthesia with medetomidine-ketamine were evaluated in free-ranging wolverines (Gulo gulo) immobilized for marking with radiocollars or intraperitoneal radiotransmitters in Norrbotten, Sweden, during early June 2004 and 2005. Twelve juvenile wolverines were captured by hand and injected with 0.14±0.03 mg/kg (mean±SD) medetomidine and 7.5±2.0 mg/kg ketamine. Twelve adult wolverines were darted from a helicopter or the ground, or captured by hand. Adults received 0.37±0.06 mg/kg medetomidine and 9.4±1.4 mg/kg ketamine. Arterial blood samples were collected between 15 min and 30 min and between 45 min and 60 min after drug administration and immediately analyzed for selected hematologic and plasma variables. Hyperthermia was recorded initially in one juvenile wolverine and 11 adults. Rectal temperature, heart rate, and lactate decreased significantly during anesthesia, whereas hemoglobin oxygen saturation, pH, partial pressure of arterial carbon dioxide, and base excess increased. Adult wolverines darted from a helicopter had a significantly higher rectal temperature, higher glucose and hematocrit values, and a lower heart rate than juveniles captured by hand. Impaired arterial oxygenation was evident in all wolverines. This study provides baseline data on physiologic variables in adult and juvenile wolverines captured with different methods and anesthetized with medetomidine-ketamine.
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Vol. 44 • No. 1