This investigation evaluated the cardiopulmonary effects of medetomidine, ketamine, and butorphanol anesthesia in captive juvenile Thomson's gazelles (Gazella thomsoni). Butorphanol was incorporated to reduce the dose of medetomidine necessary for immobilization and minimize medetomidine-induced adverse cardiovascular side effects. Medetomidine 40.1 ± 3.6 μg/kg, ketamine 4.9 ± 0.6 mg/kg, and butorphanol 0.40 ± 0.04 mg/kg were administered intramuscularly by hand injection to nine gazelles. Times to initial effect and recumbency were within 8 min postinjection. Cardiopulmonary status was monitored every 5 min by measuring heart rate, respiratory rate, indirect blood pressure, end-tidal CO2, and indirect oxygen-hemoglobin saturation by pulse oximetry. Venous blood gases were collected every 15 min postinjection. Oxygen saturations less than 90% in three gazelles suggested hypoxemia. Subsequent immobilized gazelles were supplemented with intranasal oxygen throughout the anesthetic period. Sustained bradycardia (<60 beats per minute, as compared with anesthetized domestic calves, sheep, and goats) was noted in eight of nine gazelles. Heart and respiratory rates and rectal temperatures decreased slightly, whereas systolic, mean, and diastolic blood pressure values were consistent over the anesthetic period. Mild elevations in end tidal CO2 and Pco2 suggested hypoventilation. Local lidocaine blocks were necessary to perform castrations in all seven of the gazelles undergoing the procedure. Return to sternal recumbency occurred within 7 min and return to standing occurred within 12 min after reversal with atipamezole (0.2 ± 0.03 mg/kg) and naloxone (0.02 ± 0.001 mg/kg). Medetomidine, ketamine, and butorphanol can be used to safely anesthetize Thomson's gazelles for routine, noninvasive procedures. More invasive procedures, such as castration, can be readily performed with the additional use of local anesthetics.
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Vol. 32 • No. 2