Comparison of Subcutaneous Administration of Alfaxalone-Midazolam-Dexmedetomidine and Ketamine-Midazolam-Dexmedetomidine for Sedation in Juvenile Blue Poison Dart Frogs (Dendrobates tinctorius azureus)
Taylor J. Yaw, DVM, CertAqV; Christoph Mans, Dr med vet, DACZM, DECZM (Zoo Health Management); Laura Martinelli, BS; Kurt K. Sladky, MS, DVM, DACZM, DECZM (Herpetology)
Department of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA
Blue poison dart frogs (Dendrobates tinctorius azureus) are small, brightly colored frogs, which are commonly maintained in captivity. Due to their small size, sedation or light anesthesia can enhance the quality and safety of physical examinations, diagnostic sample collection, and therapeutic administration. In this study, the sedative effects of subcutaneously administered alfaxalone-midazolam-dexmedetomidine (AMD) (20, 40, 5 mg/kg, respectively) and ketamine-midazolam-dexmedetomidine (KMD) (100, 40, 5 mg/kg, respectively) were compared in a prospective, randomized, blinded, complete crossover study in juvenile blue poison dart frogs (n=10). Both protocols were partially reversed 45 min after administration with subcutaneously administered flumazenil (0.05 mg/kg) and atipamezole (50 mg/kg). Heart rate, pulmonic respiratory rate, various reflexes and behavioral parameters were monitored following drug administration. Both protocols resulted in rapid onset of sedation with loss of righting reflex observed within 5 min for both protocols. Time to complete recovery was similar with both protocols (mean±SD, AMD: 97.5±11.4 min, KMD: 96.5±25.4 min). The AMD protocol resulted in profound pulmonic respiratory depression, while no significant difference in heart rate was found between the two protocols. All frogs were observed eating within 24 h of sedation. Gastric prolapses occurred in four frogs (AMD: three; KMD: one), which were easily reduced with a cotton-tip applicator and no other adverse reactions were observed. The results of this study provide two different subcutaneous sedation protocols in juvenile blue poison dart frogs.