Evaluation of two different etorphine doses combined with azaperone in blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi) immobilisation

Authors

  • Eugenio Gaudio University of Padova
  • Liesel L Laubscher Stellenbosch University
  • Leith C.R Meyer University of Pretoria
  • Louwrens C Hoffman Stellenbosch University
  • Jacobus P Raath Wildlife Pharmaceuticals
  • Silke Pfitzer

Abstract

Chemical immobilisation is essential for veterinarians to perform medical procedures in wild African ungulates. Potent opioids combined with neuroleptic drugs are most often used for this purpose. The present study aimed at comparing the quality of immobilisation and effects on physiological variables between a high (high etorphine-azaperone [HE]: 0.09 mg kg–1) and
low etorphine dose (low etorphine-azaperone [LE]: 0.05 mg kg–1), both combined with azaperone (0.35 mg kg–1), in 12 adult female boma-acclimatised blesbok. It was hypothesised that a reduction in etorphine’s dose in combination with azaperone would result in less cardiorespiratory impairment but likely worsen the quality of immobilisation. Both treatments resulted in rapid induction and recovery times. Overall inter-treatment differences occurred in pulse rate (HE and LE: 52 ± 15 and 44 ± 11 beats minute–1, p < 0.0001), respiratory rate (HE and LE: 15 ± 4 and 17 ± 4 breaths minute–1, p < 0.006), partial pressure of exhaled
carbon dioxide (HE and LE: 62.0 ± 5.0 and 60.0 ± 5.6 millimetre of mercury [mmHg], p < 0.028) and arterial carbon dioxide (HE and LE: 58.0 ± 4.5 and 55.0 ± 3.9 mmHg, p < 0.002). Both HE and LE led to bradycardia, hypertension and marked hypoxia to a similar extent. Furthermore, quality of induction, immobilisation and recovery were similar in both treatments. The role of azaperone in the development of cardiorespiratory compromise and gas exchange impairment that occurred when these combinations were used is still unclear. Further studies are recommended to elucidate drug- and dose-specific physiological effects in immobilised antelope. Keywords: anaesthesia; antelope; azaperone; chemical immobilisation; etorphine; wildlife

Author Biographies

Eugenio Gaudio, University of Padova

Department of Animal Medicine Production and Health, School of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary
Medicine, University of Padova, Padova, Italy and Department of Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agrisciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa

Liesel L Laubscher, Stellenbosch University

Department of Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agrisciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa and Department of Research and Development, Wildlife Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd., White River, South Africa

Leith C.R Meyer, University of Pretoria

Centre for Veterinary Wildlife Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Pretoria, Ondestepoort, South Africa and Department of Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, South Africa

Louwrens C Hoffman, Stellenbosch University

Department of Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agrisciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa and Centre for Nutrition and Food Science, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia 

Jacobus P Raath, Wildlife Pharmaceuticals

Wildlife Pharmaceuticals, White River, South Africa

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Published

2021-12-09

Issue

Section

Original Research