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Contemp Top Lab Anim Sci. 2001 May;40(3):9-11.

Medetomidine-ketamine anesthesia in red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans).

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Office of Laboratory Animal Care, University of California, 203 Northwest Animal Facility, Berkeley, California 94720-7150, USA.


This study evaluated the effects of high and low dosages of medetomidine-ketamine in red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans) and the reversibility of the anesthesia with atipamezole. Thirty healthy adult turtles were assigned randomly to one of two dosage groups. The lower dosage group received 0.1 mg medetomidine/kg body weight intramuscularly (i.m.) combined with 5 mg ketamine/kg i.m. The higher dosage group received 0.2 mg medetomidine/kg i.m. combined with 10 mg ketamine/kg i.m. Physiologic parameters evaluated included heart rate, palpebral reflex, limb and neck relaxation, and cloacal temperature. Responses to minor procedures such as i.m. injection (0.1 ml 0.9% NaCl) and endotracheal intubation also were evaluated. In addition, the higher dosage group was evaluated for responsiveness to a skin incision and placement of a skin suture. Both dosage trials resulted in a level of anesthesia deep enough for performing a physical examination, minor procedures, and endotracheal intubation. The higher dosage produced a level of anesthesia sufficient for performing a skin incision and suture placement. Heart rate and cloacal temperatures remained stable throughout the entire procedure for both groups. Atipamezole was administered i.m. at five times the dose of medetomidine (0.5 mg/kg i.m. or 1 mg/kg i.m.) 60 min after the medetomidine-ketamine was administered. All of the turtles were swimming 60 min after atipamezole administration.

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