Conscious sedation of avian patients for routine clinical procedures (e.g., physical examinations, venipuncture, radiography, ultrasonography) is not commonly practiced, although several significant advantages may be afforded, including reduced handling-related stress and prevention of hyperthermia and tachypnea.1-3 In a randomized, blinded, complete crossover study, midazolam (2 mg/kg) (5 mg/ml, Hospira Inc, Lake Forest, IL) or saline was administered intranasally to 9 healthy Hispaniolan Amazon parrots (Amazona ventralis) preceding 15 minutes of manual restraint. Birds receiving midazolam showed signs of mild to moderate sedation within 3 minutes of administration. Vocalization, flight, and defense responses were significantly reduced during capture, and vocalization was significantly reduced during manual restraint. During manual restraint, mean cloacal temperature increased significantly slower and remained significantly lower (p=0.007) in birds receiving midazolam (40.5±0.2°C) compared to birds receiving saline (41.4±0.6°C). For the first 6 minutes of manual restraint no significant mean temperature increase was recorded in birds receiving intranasal midazolam (0.27±0.24°C, p=0.079) in contrast to birds receiving saline (0.72±0.37°C, p<0.001). Mean respiratory rates in midazolam treated animals were significantly lower (p=0.008) for up to 12 minutes of manual restraint. Intranasal flumazenil (0.05 mg/kg) (0.1 mg/ml, Abaxis Pharmaceutical Products, Schaumburg, IL) was used to antagonize the midazolam, and all birds recovered completely within 10 minutes. No untoward effects of intranasal midazolam and flumazenil administration were observed in this species. Intranasal midazolam should be considered as a simple, safe, effective, and readily reversible option for conscious sedation in Hispaniolan Amazon parrots.
1. Greenacre CB, Lusby AL. Physiologic responses of Amazon parrots (Amazona species) to manual restraint. J Avian Med Surg. 2004;18:19–22.
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3. Vinkers CH, de Jong NM, Kalkman CJ, Westphal KG, van Oorschot R, Olivier B, et al. Stress-induced hyperthermia is reduced by rapid-acting anxiolytic drugs independent of injection stress in rats. Pharmaco Biochem Be. 2009;93:413–418.