Epidural ketamine in the dromedary camel

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the clinical and physiological effects of epidural injection of ketamine in camels.

Study design

Randomized prospective study.

Animals

Ten healthy immature male dromedary camels.

Methods

Ketamine was administered epidurally at doses of 1 and 2 mg kg−1 (five animals in each treatment). The drug was injected into the first intercoccygeal epidural space. Anti-nociception, sedation, ataxia, and effect on cardiopulmonary, rectal temperature and some selected haematological parameters were recorded at different intervals before (baseline) and after the drug administration. Data were analyzed by anova or U Mann–Whitney tests, as relevant and significance was taken as p < 0.05.

Results

Epidural ketamine at the 2 mg kg−1 dose produced complete anti-nociception in the tail, anus and perineum, whilst the 1 mg kg−1 dose produced complete anti-nociception only in the tail. Epidural ketamine resulted in mild to moderate sedation at the 1 mg kg−1 dose and deep sedation at the 2 mg kg−1 dose. Ataxia was observed in all test subjects and was severe, resulting in recumbency, in the 2 mg kg−1 group. Respiratory rate and rectal temperature did not change significantly after injection of either treatment. Following epidural injection of 2 mg kg−1 of ketamine, heart rate increased significantly from the pre-injection baseline of 55 ± 2 to 76 ± 4 (mean ± SD) beats minute−1, but after the lower dose changes were not significant. The only significant changes in measured haematologic parameters were decreases in total erythrocyte count at 45 minutes and total leukocyte count from 45–75 minutes, in the 2 mg kg−1 group.

Conclusion

Epidural ketamine injection was associated with caudal anti-nociception, sedation and ataxia in the dromedary camels; the intensity and duration of which was dose dependant.

Clinical relevance

Neither of the doses of epidural ketamine injection in our study was applicable for standing surgical procedures in dromedary camels.

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