A 1-month-old giraffe received repeated immobilizations for treatment of a fractured left metatarsus. Etorphine (M-99) and xylazine (Rompun) or etorphine and isoflurane (Aerrane) adjunct anaesthesia were used for immobilization. During immobilizations, pulse oximetry and end tidal CO2 measurements were made and correlated with arterial blood gas values. Results of observations made during sequential immobilizations suggest that young giraffes tend to hypoventilate during anaesthesia, resulting in significant respiratory acidosis. By monitoring pulse oximetry and end tidal CO2 periods of hypoventilation and subsequent respiratory acidosis in this case were detected and overcome. Pulse oximetry and end tidal CO2 measurements are recommended as adjunct monitoring techniques for routine chemical restraint in the giraffe. In addition, reversing or avoiding hypoventilation and respiratory acidosis in young giraffes can be best accomplished through routine tracheal intubation and assisted ventilation.
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