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To evaluate the effects of injectable dexmedetomidine-ketamine-midazolam (DKM) and isoflurane inhalation (ISO) anesthetic protocols on selected ocular variables in captive black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus; BTPDs).


9 zoo-kept BTPDs.


The BTPDs received dexmedetomidine hydrochloride (0.25 mg/kg, IM), ketamine hydrochloride (40 mg/kg, IM), and midazolam hydrochloride (1.5 mg/kg, IM) or inhalation of isoflurane and oxygen in a randomized complete crossover design (2-day interval between anesthetic episodes). Pupil size, globe position, tear production, and intraocular pressure measurements were recorded at 5, 30, and 45 minutes after induction of anesthesia. For each BTPD, a phenol red thread test was performed in one randomly selected eye and a modified Schirmer tear test I was performed in the other eye. Intraocular pressure was measured by rebound tonometry.


Compared with findings for the DKM protocol, pupil size was smaller at all time points when the BTPDs underwent the ISO protocol. Globe position remained central during anesthesia with the DKM protocol, whereas it varied among central, ventromedial, and ventrolateral positions during anesthesia with the ISO protocol. Tear production and intraocular pressure decreased significantly over time when the BTPDs underwent either protocol.


Results indicated that ophthalmic examination findings for anesthetized BTPDs can be influenced by the anesthetic protocol used. The DKM protocol may result in more consistent pupil size and globe position, compared with that achieved by use of the ISO protocol. Tear production and intraocular pressure measurements should be conducted promptly after induction of anesthesia to avoid the effect of anesthetic episode duration on these variables.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research