Physiological and biochemical variables in captive tigers (Panthera tigris) immobilised with dexmedetomidine and ketamine or dexmedetomidine, midazolam and ketamine

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Abstract

Physiological and biochemical variables in captive tigers (Panthera tigris) immobilised with dexmedetomidine and ketamine or dexmedetomidine, midazolam and ketamine were evaluated. Thirty tigers received either dexmedetomidine (0.025 mg/kg) and ketamine (3 mg/kg) (group DK) or dexmedetomidine (0.0125 mg/kg), midazolam (0.1 mg/kg) and ketamine (3 mg/kg) (group DMK). Heart rate, SPO2 and blood pressure were measured at five-minute intervals. Arterial pH, PO2, PCO2, glucose, K+ and arterial and venous lactate were measured at 15 and 45 minutes after immobilisation. A generalised linear mixed model was used for statistical comparison. There was no difference within or between groups at any time point for any measured variable. Measured PO2 was 73.2±17.5 mm Hg and SPO2 was 88.9±10.8 per cent. Systolic, mean and diastolic blood pressures were 170.5±48.4, 138.9±41.8 and 121.8±37.2 mm Hg, respectively. Venous lactate was higher than arterial lactate within groups at each time point. Seizure-like behaviour was observed in 25 per cent of tigers in group DK but not in group DMK. The addition of midazolam into a protocol for immobilisation of tigers did not result in a difference in any of the measured variables but may have prevented the development of seizure-like behaviour.

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