Seven (three male and four female) 4-7-yr old captive servals (Felis serval) weighing 13.7 +/- 2.3 kg were used to evaluate the cardiopulmonary and anesthetic effects of combined intramuscular injections of medetomidine (47.4 +/- 10.3 microg/kg), ketamine (1.0 +/- 0.2 mg/kg), and butorphanol (0.2 +/- 0.03 mg/kg). Inductions were smooth and rapid (11.7 +/- 4.3 min) and resulted in good muscle relaxation. Significant decreases in heart rate (85 +/- 12 beats/min) at 10 min after injection and respiratory rate (27 +/- 10 breaths/min) at 5 min after injection continued throughout the immobilization period. Rectal temperature and arterial blood pressure did not change significantly. The PaO2 decreased significantly, and PaCO2 increased significantly during immobilization but remained within clinically acceptable limits. Hypoxemia (PaO2 < 60 mm Hg) was not noted, and arterial blood oxygen saturation (SaO2) was greater than 90% at all times. Relative arterial oxygen saturation (SpO2) values, indicated by pulse oximetry, were lower than SaO2 values. All animals could be safely handled while sedated. Administration of atipamezole (236.8 +/- 51.2 microg/kg half i.v. and half s.c.), an alpha2 antagonist, resulted in rapid (4.1 +/- 3 min to standing) and smooth recoveries.
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