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Medetomidine, ketamine, and sevoflurane for anesthesia of injured loggerhead sea turtles: 13 cases (1996–2000)

Elizabeth J. Chittick DVM, MS, DACZM1,2,3, M. Andrew Stamper DVM, DACZM4,5,6, Jean F. Beasley7, Gregory A. Lewbart VMD, MS, DACZM8,9, and William A. Horne DVM, PhD, DACVA10,11
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  • 1 Environmental Medicine Consortium, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 3 Present address is Sea World Orlando, 7007 Sea World Dr, Orlando, FL 32821.
  • | 4 Environmental Medicine Consortium, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 6 Present address is the Animal Program, The Living Seas, EC TRL W-251, PO Box 10,000, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830.
  • | 7 Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, 822 Carolina Boulevard, Topsail Beach, NC 28445.
  • | 8 Environmental Medicine Consortium, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 9 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 10 Environmental Medicine Consortium, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.
  • | 11 Molecular Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

Abstract

Objective—To determine safety and efficacy of an anesthetic protocol incorporating medetomidine, ketamine, and sevoflurane for anesthesia of injured loggerhead sea turtles.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—13 loggerhead sea turtles.

Procedure—Anesthesia was induced with medetomidine (50 µg/kg [22.7 µg/lb], IV) and ketamine (5 mg/kg [2.3 mg/lb], IV) and maintained with sevoflurane (0.5 to 2.5%) in oxygen. Sevoflurane was delivered with a pressure-limited intermittent-flow ventilator. Heart rate and rhythm, end-tidal partial pressure of CO2, and cloacal temperature were monitored continuously; venous blood gas analyses were performed intermittently. Administration of sevoflurane was discontinued 30 to 60 minutes prior to the end of the surgical procedure. Atipamezole (0.25 mg/kg [0.11 mg/lb], IV) was administered at the end of surgery.

Results—Median induction time was 11 minutes (range, 2 to 40 minutes; n = 11). Median delivered sevoflurane concentrations 15, 30, 60, and 120 minutes after intubation were 2.5 (n = 12), 1.5 (12), 1.25 (12), and 0.5% (8), respectively. Heart rate decreased during surgery to a median value of 15 beats/min (n = 11). End-tidal partial pressure of CO2 ranged from 2 to 16 mm Hg (n = 8); median blood gas values were within reference limits. Median time from atipamezole administration to extubation was 14 minutes (range, 2 to 84 minutes; n = 7).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that a combination of medetomidine and ketamine for induction and sevoflurane for maintenance provides safe, effective, controllable anesthesia in injured loggerhead sea turtles. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:1019–1025)

Abstract

Objective—To determine safety and efficacy of an anesthetic protocol incorporating medetomidine, ketamine, and sevoflurane for anesthesia of injured loggerhead sea turtles.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—13 loggerhead sea turtles.

Procedure—Anesthesia was induced with medetomidine (50 µg/kg [22.7 µg/lb], IV) and ketamine (5 mg/kg [2.3 mg/lb], IV) and maintained with sevoflurane (0.5 to 2.5%) in oxygen. Sevoflurane was delivered with a pressure-limited intermittent-flow ventilator. Heart rate and rhythm, end-tidal partial pressure of CO2, and cloacal temperature were monitored continuously; venous blood gas analyses were performed intermittently. Administration of sevoflurane was discontinued 30 to 60 minutes prior to the end of the surgical procedure. Atipamezole (0.25 mg/kg [0.11 mg/lb], IV) was administered at the end of surgery.

Results—Median induction time was 11 minutes (range, 2 to 40 minutes; n = 11). Median delivered sevoflurane concentrations 15, 30, 60, and 120 minutes after intubation were 2.5 (n = 12), 1.5 (12), 1.25 (12), and 0.5% (8), respectively. Heart rate decreased during surgery to a median value of 15 beats/min (n = 11). End-tidal partial pressure of CO2 ranged from 2 to 16 mm Hg (n = 8); median blood gas values were within reference limits. Median time from atipamezole administration to extubation was 14 minutes (range, 2 to 84 minutes; n = 7).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that a combination of medetomidine and ketamine for induction and sevoflurane for maintenance provides safe, effective, controllable anesthesia in injured loggerhead sea turtles. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:1019–1025)