Field Anesthesia of Ring-Tailed Lemurs (Lemur catta) Using Telazol®, Medetomidine, and Butorphanol
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2008
R. Scott Larsen1, DVM, MS, DACZM; Anneke Moresco2, DVM, MS; Michelle L. Sauther3, MA, PhD; Frank P. Cuozzo4, MA, PhD
1Wildlife Health Center and Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA; 2Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA; 3Department of Anthropology, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA; 4Department of Anthropology, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND, USA


Ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) have been studied in the wild in Madagascar for many years.1-7 In Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve, a long-term research project focuses on studying the dental wear patterns of ring-tailed lemurs and relating these findings to health, ecology, behavior, and evolution.1,4,5 Although tiletamine-zolazepam (Telazol®) has been commonly used to anesthetize free-ranging lemurs,2,7 we have found that this combination alone provides insufficient sedation and muscle relaxation for consistent, high-quality dental impressions. This investigation evaluated Telazol® induction in ring-tailed lemurs and compared supplementation with medetomidine or medetomidine-butorphanol.

Lemurs (n=48) were anesthetized with Telazol® administered via Daninject® blow dart. Twenty minutes later, they were supplemented via hand-injection with either medetomidine (0.04 mg/kg; n=22) or medetomidine-butorphanol (0.04 mg/kg and 0.1 mg/kg; n=23), followed by additional doses as necessary; three lemurs received other supplemental agents.

Young lemurs (1–3 yr old) were 4 times more likely to need multiple darts for induction than mature adults (≥4 yr old), even though the initial dose of Telazol® received by young lemurs (18±7 mg/kg) was significantly higher than the initial dose administered to mature adults (12±5 mg/kg). Both supplementation protocols provided good muscle relaxation and sedation for all procedures; full dental impressions were completed for all individuals. Physiologic values were generally stable, although low oxygen saturation values and low body temperatures sometimes occurred. Additional supplements were needed for procedures >90 min. Further refinements in these protocols are needed to increase induction reliability, particularly in young lemurs.


The authors thank Enafa Efitroatamy, Jacky Youssouf, and Teague O’Mara for their invaluable assistance in capturing lemurs and collecting biomedical information.

Literature Cited

1.  Cuozzo, F.P., and M.L. Sauther. 2004. Tooth loss, survival, and resource use in wild ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta): implications for inferring conspecific care in fossil hominids. J. Hum. Evol. 46:623–631.

2.  Dutton, C.J., R.E. Junge, and E.E. Louis. 2003. Biomedical evaluation of free-ranging ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) in Tsimanampetsotsa Strict Nature Reserve, Madagascar. J. Zoo Wildl. Med. 34:16–24.

3.  Miller, D.S., M.L. Sauther, M. Hunter-Ishikawa, K. Fish, H. Culbertson, F.P. Cuozzo, T.W. Campbell, G.A. Andrews, P.S. Chavey, R. Nachreiner, W. Rumbeiha, M. Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis, and M.R. Lappin. 2007. Biomedical evaluation of free-ranging lemurs (Lemur catta) in three habitats at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve, Madagascar. J. Zoo Wildl. Med. 38:201–216.

4.  Sauther, M.L., F. Cuozzo, and R.W. Sussman. 2001. An analysis of the dentition of a living wild population of ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) from Beza Mahafaly, Madagascar. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 114:2.

5.  Sauther, M.L., R.W. Sussman, and F. Cuozzo. 2002. Dental and general health in a population of wild ring-tailed lemurs: a life history approach. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 117:122–132.

6.  Sauther, M.L., R.W. Sussman, and L. Gould. 1999. The socioecology of the ring-tailed lemur: thirty-five years of study. Evol. Anthropol. 8:120–132.

7.  Williams, C.V. and R.E. Junge. 2007. Prosimians. In: West, G., D. Heard, and N. Caulkett (eds.). Zoo Animal and Wildlife Immobilization and Anesthesia. Blackwell Publishing, Ames, Iowa. Pp. 367–374.


Speaker Information
(click the speaker's name to view other papers and abstracts submitted by this speaker)

R. Scott Larsen, DVM, MS, DACZM
Wildlife Health Center
and Department of Medicine & Epidemiology
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California-Davis
Davis, CA, USA

MAIN : AAZV Conference : Field Anesthesia of Ring-Tailed Lemurs
Powered By VIN