This study evaluated partial antagonism of tiletamine-zolazepam (TZ) anesthesia in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and differences between two benzodiazepine antagonists, flumazenil and sarmazenil, in this species. Four cheetahs were anesthetized three times at an interval of 14 days with an average intramuscular dose of 4.2 mg/kg TZ. In trials 2 and 3 flumazenil at 0.031 mg/kg and sarmazenil at 0.1 mg/kg, respectively, were applied intramuscularly 30 min after initial TZ injection. There was a highly significant difference between the duration of TZ anesthesia with and without antagonist. Use of the antagonists significantly shortened duration and recovery and eliminated excitatory behavior during the recovery phase. No significant differences could be determined between the two antagonists. We recommend the use of sarmazenil and flumazenil to antagonize TZ anesthesia in cheetahs.
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Vol. 38 • No. 2