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To compare the effects of a dexmedetomidine-ketamine-midazolam (DKM) anesthetic protocol versus isoflurane inhalation anesthesia on echocardiographic variables and plasma cardiac troponin 1 (cTnI) concentration in black-tailed prairie dogs (BTPDs; Cynomys ludovicianus).


Nine 6-month-old sexually intact male captive BTPDs.


Each BTPD was randomly assigned to be anesthetized by IM administration of dexmedetomidine (0.25 mg/kg), ketamine (40 mg/kg), and midazolam (1.5 mg/kg) or via inhalation of isoflurane and oxygen. Three days later, each BTPD underwent the alternative anesthetic protocol. Echocardiographic data and a blood sample were collected within 5 minutes after initiation and just prior to cessation of each 45-minute-long anesthetic episode.


Time or anesthetic protocol had no significant effect on echocardiographic variables. For either protocol, plasma cTnI concentration did not differ with time. When administered as the first treatment, neither anesthetic protocol significantly affected plasma cTnI concentration. However, with regard to findings for the second treatments, plasma cTnI concentrations in isoflurane-treated BTPDs (n = 4; data for 1 animal were not analyzed because of procedural problems) were higher than values in DKM-treated BTPDs (4), which was suspected to be a carryover effect from prior DKM treatment.


The DKM and isoflurane anesthetic protocols did not have any significant effect on echocardiographic measurements in the BTPDs. Increases in plasma cTnI concentration during the second anesthetic episode were evident when BTPDs underwent the DKM anesthetic protocol as the first of the 2 treatments, suggestive of potential myocardial injury associated with that anesthetic protocol. Clinicians should consider these findings, especially when evaluating BTPDs with known or suspected cardiac disease.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research