The capture of wild animals is a stressful event which may cause a capture-induced hyperthermia, resulting in morbidity or mortality. We investigated whether various cooling techniques were effective at lowering the body temperature of hyperthermic animals. To achieve this, we implanted miniature temperature-sensitive data loggers into the abdomens of 12 blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi). Five animals were cooled by dousing with water of different temperatures (4°C, 17°C, 28°C) and fanning after dousing with 28°C water. Seven animals were cooled by ice-packs, a fine mist spray of 28°C water, intravenous (IV) infusion of one litre of 4°C saline solution or 28°C water-dousing. The body temperature after capture was significantly elevated to as high as 41 °C to 42°C. Water-dousing interventions significantly decreased minimum body temperature but there was no difference in the minimum body temperature reached or the magnitude of cooling between the different water temperatures or by the addition of fanning. The ice-packs also lowered body temperature, whereas mist spraying did not. The use of ice packs and dousing with water between 4°C and 28°C were the most effective techniques to reduce capture-induced hyperthermia in blesbok. Water-dousing, when done appropriately, is the most practical and effective method to cool an animal with capture-induced hyperthermia.
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