Ketamine-medetomidine compared to tiletamine-zolazepam-medetomidine for immobilisation of semi-captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)
Keywords:Acinonyx jubatus, cheetah, immobilisation, ketamine, medetomidine, tiletamine-zolazepam
The immobilisation time and cardiopulmonary effects of ketamine-medetomidine (KM) and tiletamine-zolazepam-medetomidine (TZM) were compared in semi-captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus). Seven healthy adult cheetahs were included in a randomised prospective crossover study. Each cheetah was immobilised on two occasions by remote injection, once with a combination of ketamine (4.93 ± 0.75 mg/kg) and medetomidine (0.038 ± 0.003 mg/kg) (KM) and once with tiletamine-zolazepam (1.16 ± 0.12 mg/kg) and medetomidine (0.039 ± 0.002 mg/kg) (TZM). Time to safe approach, characterised by absent responses to an ear flick and tail tug, was recorded as the immobilisation time. Following immobilisation, cardiopulmonary parameters were recorded, and an arterial blood gas sample analysed. Data is reported as mean ± SD and compared using a general linear mixed model (p < 0.05). Immobilisation times were no different between combinations, 11.4 ± 5.7 minutes for KM and 13.2 ± 4.6 minutes for TZM (p = 0.528). Systolic blood pressure was 218 ± 22 mmHg for KM and 210 ± 28 mmHg for TZM (p = 0.594). There was moderate hypoxaemia with both combinations with arterial oxygen partial pressure of 58.4 ± 6.6 mmHg for KM and 61.3 ± 4.2 mmHg for TZM (p = 0.368). Haematocrit was higher with KM (40.7 ± 2.5) than TZM (35.8 ± 2.8, p = 0.007). There were differences in electrolytes, with TZM resulting in higher serum potassium (4.3 ± 0.2 mmol/L, p < 0.001) and glucose (11.8 ± 2.9 mmol/L, p = 0.039) than KM. Both combinations provided acceptable immobilisation for field use, although severe hypertension was a consistent finding. Supplementation with oxygen is recommended with both combinations.