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.
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