Original Research

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

Eugenio Gaudio, Liesel L. Laubscher, Leith C.R. Meyer, Louwrens C. Hoffman, Jacobus P. Raath, Silke Pfitzer
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 92 | a2161 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v92i0.2161 | © 2021 Eugenio Gaudio, Liesel L. Laubscher, Leith C. R. Meyer, Louwrens C. Hoffman, Jacobus P. Raath, Silke Pfitzer | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 March 2021 | Published: 24 August 2021

About the author(s)

Eugenio Gaudio, 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, 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, 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, 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, White River, South Africa
Silke Pfitzer, School of Biology and Environmental Sciences, University of Mpumalanga, Nelspruit, South Africa


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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

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