Case Report

Anaesthetic management of two Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) cubs for fracture repair

Gareth E. Zeiler, Eva Rioja, Charlie Boucher, Adrian S.W. Tordiffe
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 84, No 1 | a995 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v84i1.995 | © 2013 Gareth E. Zeiler, Eva Rioja, Charlie Boucher, Adrian S.W. Tordiffe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 January 2013 | Published: 08 November 2013

About the author(s)

Gareth E. Zeiler, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Eva Rioja, School of Veterinary Science, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
Charlie Boucher, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Adrian S.W. Tordiffe, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa and National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

This case series describes the anaesthetic management of two sibling Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) cubs that were found to have spontaneous femur fractures due to severe nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism. Both cubs received a combination of medetomidine (25 µg/kg) and ketamine (4 mg/kg) intramuscularly and were maintained with isoflurane in oxygen. An epidural injection of morphine (0.1 mg/kg) and ropivacaine (1.6 mg/kg) was administered to both tigers, which allowed a low end-tidal isoflurane concentration to be maintained throughout the femur fracture reduction operations. Both cubs experienced profound bradycardia and hypotension during general anaesthesia, and were unresponsive to anticholinergic treatment. Possible causes for these cardiovascular complications included: drug pharmacodynamics (medetomidine, morphine, isoflurane), decreased sympathetic tone due to the epidural (ropivacaine) and hypothermia. These possible causes are discussed in detail.

Keywords

Anaesthesia; Bengal tiger; epidural; Panthera tigris tigris; nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism

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