Use of Dexmedetomidine, Midazolam, Ketamine, and Reversal with Atipamezole for Chemical Immobilization of Giant Anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), Lesser Anteaters (Tamandua tetradactyla), and Silky Anteaters (Cyclopes didactylus) Kept in Captivity
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2012

Gianmarco Rojas Moreno, DVM, Esp.

Parque Zoológico Huachipa, Av. Las Torres s/n, Ate Vitarte, Lima-03, Perú; Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Científica del Sur, Panamericana Sur km 19, Lima, Perú


There are very few reports regarding anesthesia of anteaters and there is almost nothing about chemical immobilization of silky anteaters.1 Over the last three years, the author has tested a new combination for chemical immobilization of three species of anteaters during routine veterinary procedures at Parque Zoologico Huachipa. The anesthetic combination consisted of ketamine (4±0.25 mg/kg-1), dexmedetomidine (20±5 μg/kg-1) and midazolam (0.1 mg/kg-1), administered in one syringe and applied via intramuscular (IM) injection. Ten minutes after initial injection, cardiac frequency, oxygen saturation, respiratory frequency, and rectal temperature were monitored every ten minutes. The following parameters related to anesthetic quality were also assessed: induction time, effective period of the anesthesia, recovery time, muscle relaxation score, presence or absence of salivation, and protective reflexes. After 50 minutes of anesthesia, dexmedetomidine was reversed with atipamezole (0.20±0.05 mg/kg-1), administered IM. A rapid time of induction was observed in three species (3.63±3 minutes). Recovery was quick and without excitement. Recovery times were different for the three species: 4±2, 8±2, and 4±1 minutes in silky, lesser, and giant anteaters, respectively, after administration of atipamezole. Total recovery was achieved at 12±4, 24±3, and 25±6 minutes in silky, lesser, and giant anteaters, respectively. Good muscle relaxation and no salivation were observed. No alterations of vital functions were observed during anesthesia. Based on the results, this protocol could be considered as an excellent choice for pharmacologic contention of captive anteaters.


The author thanks the Parque Zoologico Huachipa for allowing the access to the anteater collection and for all logistical support in this research, especially to Lizette Bermudez, Chief of Fauna Area.

Literature Cited

1.  Rojas Moreno G, Miranda F. Medicina de Tamanduaí. In: Manutenção de Tamanduás em Cativeiro. São Carlos, SP, Brasil: Editora Cubo; 2012:168–185.


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Gianmarco Rojas Moreno, DVM Esp.
Parque Zoológico Huachipa
Lima, Perú

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