Twenty adult, free-ranging, female Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus) were immobilized with medetomidine-ketamine from 30 September through 9 October 1999 at Svalbard, Norway (78°55'N, 11°56'E). The animals were approached on foot, and the drugs were administered into the heavy muscles of the shoulder or the thigh by dart syringe injection from 15–25 m. The mean (SD) induction time in 10 animals immobilized with 0.113 (0.009) mg/kg of medetomidine and 2.26 (0.19) mg/kg of ketamine (group 2) was significantly shorter (P<0.05) than in 10 animals immobilized with 0.215 (0.043) mg/kg of medetomidine and 1.08 (0.21) mg/kg of ketamine (group 1): 6.5 (3.2) versus 14.3 (10.6) min, respectively. Inductions were calm, major clinical side effects were not detected, and there were no significant differences between groups regarding rectal temperature, pulse rate, respiratory rate, or relative arterial oxygen saturation. The 5 mg of atipamezole/1 mg of medetomidine were given half intramuscularly and half subcutaneously for reversal, and the animals were standing within 9.5 (4.5, group 1) and 13.0 (6.4, group 2) min, respectively, after administration of the antagonist.
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Vol. 45 • No. 3