Comparison of Anesthetic Induction and Recovery Times after Intramuscular, Subcutaneous, or Intranasal Dexmedetomidine-Ketamine Administration in Red-Eared Slider Turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2011

Lesanna L. Lahner, DVM, MPH; Christoph Mans, Med Vet; Kurt K. Sladky, MS, DVM, DACZM

Department of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA


Injectable anesthetic drug combinations are commonly used in reptiles. Several factors have been reported to affect induction and recovery times, including body temperature and body condition.1-8 Furthermore, the injection of certain drugs into the hindlimbs can lead to lowered plasma levels due to a first pass effect through the liver and/or the kidneys.9,10 In a blinded, randomized, crossover trial, induction times after intramuscular (IM, forelimb) and subcutaneous (SC, forelimb and hindlimb) administration of dexmedetomidine (0.1 mg/kg) and ketamine (10 mg/kg), and recovery times after IM, SC, and intranasal (IN) atipamezole (1 mg/kg), in 14 healthy red-eared slider turtles, maintained at 23–24°C (73.4–75.2°F), were evaluated. IM injection resulted in significantly faster and less variable (16±7 m) induction times than SC forelimb injections (35±22 m, p<0.01). SC hindlimb injection produced no anesthesia in the majority (>70%) of the animals. Intranasal administration of atipamezole resulted in similar recovery times (42±22 m, p>0.05) compared to the IM (41±2 m) or SC (50±23 m) route. The results of this study suggest that IM forelimb injections provide the fastest and least variable means for injectable anesthesia in red-eared slider turtles. However, SC forelimb administration achieved the same depth of anesthesia and, therefore, should be considered for ease of administration, particularly for the injection of large drug volumes. The intranasal route of atipamezole administration is equally effective compared to SC or IM injection.

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Speaker Information
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Lesanna L. Lahner, DVM, MPH
Department of Surgical Sciences
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI, USA

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