Improvement of arterial oxygenation in free-ranging moose (Alces alces) immobilized with etorphine-acepromazine-xylazine
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Background: The effect of intranasal oxygen and/or early reversal of xylazine with atipamezole on arterial oxygenation in free-ranging moose (Alces alces) immobilized with etorphine-acepromazine-xylazine with a cross-sectional clinical study on 33 adult moose was evaluated. Moose were darted from a helicopter with 3.37 mg etorphine, 15 mg acepromazine and 75 mg xylazine. Intranasal oxygen at a flow rate of 4 L/min and/or early reversal of xylazine with 7.5 mg atipamezole to improve oxygenation was evaluated, using four treatment regimens; intranasal oxygen (n = 10), atipamezole intramuscularly (n = 6), atipamezole intravenously (n = 10), or a combination of atipamezole intravenously and intranasal oxygen (n = 7). Arterial blood was collected 7–30 minutes (min) after darting, and again 15 min after institution of treatment and immediately analyzed using an i-STAT®1 Portable Clinical Analyzer. Results: Before treatment the mean ± SD (range) partial pressure of arterial oxygen (PaO2) was 62 ± 17 (26–99) mmHg. Twenty-six animals had a PaO2 < 80 mmHg. Ten had a PaO2 of 40–60 mmHg and three animals had a PaO2 < 40 mmHg. Intranasal oxygen and intravenous administration of atipamezole significantly increased the mean PaO2, as did the combination of the two. In contrast, atipamezole administered intramuscularly at the evaluated dose had no significant effect on arterial oxygenation. Conclusions: This study shows that intranasal oxygen effectively improved arterial oxygenation in immobilized moose, and that early intravenous reversal of the sedative component, in this case xylazine, in an opioid-based immobilization drug-protocol significantly improves arterial oxygenation.