Etorphine-Azaperone-Medetomidine Immobilization in Free-Ranging Plains Zebras (Equus quagga)
2018 Joint EAZWV/AAZV/Leibniz-IZW Conference
Eugenio Gaudio1*, DVM; Louw C Hoffman2, BSc, PhD; George A Schabort3, BVSc; Craig A Shepstone2, BSc; Gary Bauer4, BVSc, Dr. Med. Vet (Ophth); Giulia Maria De Benedictis1, DVM, PhD
1Department of Animal Medicine Production and Health, University of Padova, Legnaro (PD), Italy; 2Department of Animal Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa;3Wellington Animal Hospital, Wellington, South Africa; 4Gondwana Wildlife Services, Thabazimbi, South Africa


Wild equids are a challenging group of wild animals to immobilize since quality of anaesthesia is often unpredictable.1 Six plains zebras (Equus quagga) were anaesthetised using a combination of etorphine (0.018 mg/kg) (Captivon 9.8 mg/mL; Wildlife Pharmaceuticals, Karino, South Africa), medetomidine (0.016 mg/kg) (20 mg/mL, Kyron Laboratories, White River, South Africa), and azaperone (0.23 mg/kg) (50 mg/mL; ZooPharm, Windsor, CO, USA). Drugs were delivered in a 2 ml dart (Type ‘C’; Pneu-Dart, Inc., Williamsport, PA, USA) by means of a blank cartridge-fired projector (Model 196, Pneu-Dart, Inc., Williamsport, PA, USA). A descriptive score was used to assess the quality of immobilization, reaction to manipulation, maintenance, recovery, and physiological parameters were recorded at five-minute intervals for a total of 20 minutes. At the end of the procedure, the opioid antagonist naltrexone (Trexonil 50 mg/mL; Wildlife Pharmaceuticals, White River, South Africa) was administered IM (0.24 mg/kg). Immobilization was scored as profound (lateral recumbency, not rousable) in 5 animals, and moderate (rousable) in 1. Reactions to manipulation resulted to be excellent (no reaction) in all animals. Recumbency was achieved in 7.3±7.5 minutes. Heart rate (63.5±17.4 bpm), systolic (149±28.4 mm Hg), diastolic (91.9±19.1 mm Hg), and mean (111.3±20.6 mm Hg) blood pressure, respiratory rate (13.6±8.3), EtCO2 (57.9±5.7 mm Hg), SpO2 (94.1±5.1%), and temperature (38.7±1.5°C) had no significant variation over time. Maintenance was scored as good and recovery as excellent in all animals. All zebras recovered smoothly within 3.7±2 minutes.

Literature Cited

1.  Lance W. Exotic hoof stock anesthesia and analgesia: best practices. NAVC Congress; 2008:1914–1916.


Speaker Information
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Eugenio Gaudio, DVM
Department Animal Medicine Production and Health
University of Padova
Legnaro, Italy

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