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Clinical evaluation of established optimal immobilizing doses of medetomidine-ketamine in captive reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus)

Kathrine A. Ryeng DVM, PhD1, Stig Larsen PhD2, Birgit Ranheim DVM, PhD3, Gunn Albertsen MSc4, and Jon M. Arnemo DVM, PhD5
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  • 1 Department of Arctic Veterinary Medicine, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, NO-9292 Tromsø, Norway.
  • | 2 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, PO Box 8146 Dep, NO-0033 Oslo, Norway.
  • | 3 Departments of Pharmacology, Microbiology and Food Hygiene, PO Box 8146 Dep, NO-0033 Oslo, Norway.
  • | 4 Selvbyggerveien 145, 0591 Oslo, Norway.
  • | 5 Department of Arctic Veterinary Medicine, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, NO-9292 Tromsø, Norway.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate clinical effects and repeatability of clinical effects for an optimal immobilizing dose of a combination of medetomidine hydrochloride (MED) and ketamine hydrochloride (KET) in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus).

Animals—12 healthy 6- to 8-month old reindeer.

Procedure—Each reindeer was immobilized once with an initial dose (combination of 0.06 mg of MED/kg of body weight and 0.3 mg KET/kg) and twice with an optimal dose of MED-KET. Reversal was achieved with 5 mg of atipamezole/mg of MED injected 45 minutes after MED-KET administration. Observational variables were recorded. Oxygen saturation of arterial hemoglobin measured by pulse oximetry (SpO2), respiratory rate (RR), heart rate (HR), and rectal temperature (RT) were recorded 10, 25, and 40 minutes after immobilization.

Results—Mean time to first sign of sedation and time until a recumbent animal lifted its head were significantly reduced for reindeer given the optimal dose, compared with the initial dose. Mean SpO2 remained > 90% during initial immobilization; this value was significantly lower for the optimal dose, but increased during immobilization from 85 to 89%. At all doses, RR increased significantly throughout the recorded period; however, RT and HR were constant. Except for time until reindeer stood, all time variables, SpO2, RR, RT, and HR were repeatable.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Immobilization of captive reindeer achieved by use of the optimal dose established here is clinically acceptable, although SpO2 should be carefully monitored. Administration of the optimal dose produced the same clinical effect during repeated immobilization of the same reindeer. (Am J Vet Res2001;62:406–413).

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate clinical effects and repeatability of clinical effects for an optimal immobilizing dose of a combination of medetomidine hydrochloride (MED) and ketamine hydrochloride (KET) in reindeer (Rangifer tarandus tarandus).

Animals—12 healthy 6- to 8-month old reindeer.

Procedure—Each reindeer was immobilized once with an initial dose (combination of 0.06 mg of MED/kg of body weight and 0.3 mg KET/kg) and twice with an optimal dose of MED-KET. Reversal was achieved with 5 mg of atipamezole/mg of MED injected 45 minutes after MED-KET administration. Observational variables were recorded. Oxygen saturation of arterial hemoglobin measured by pulse oximetry (SpO2), respiratory rate (RR), heart rate (HR), and rectal temperature (RT) were recorded 10, 25, and 40 minutes after immobilization.

Results—Mean time to first sign of sedation and time until a recumbent animal lifted its head were significantly reduced for reindeer given the optimal dose, compared with the initial dose. Mean SpO2 remained > 90% during initial immobilization; this value was significantly lower for the optimal dose, but increased during immobilization from 85 to 89%. At all doses, RR increased significantly throughout the recorded period; however, RT and HR were constant. Except for time until reindeer stood, all time variables, SpO2, RR, RT, and HR were repeatable.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Immobilization of captive reindeer achieved by use of the optimal dose established here is clinically acceptable, although SpO2 should be carefully monitored. Administration of the optimal dose produced the same clinical effect during repeated immobilization of the same reindeer. (Am J Vet Res2001;62:406–413).