Sharks are important exhibit animals in aquariums and zoologic institutions worldwide. Although veterinarians are encountering these species more frequently in these institutions, our knowledge regarding safe restraint and anesthesia is limited. To date there have been only a few anecdotal reports or studies evaluating the effects of tricaine methane sulfonate (MS-222), ketamine hydrochloride, and tiletamine and zolazepam (Telazol) in sharks. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the clinical and cardiorespiratory effects of propofol in spotted bamboo sharks (Chylloscyllium plagiosum). Nine wild-caught adult female spotted bamboo sharks (mean weight 2.4 kg ± SD 1.45 kg) were used in this study. Propofol (2.5 mg/kg) was administered over 30 sec via the caudal tail vein. Heart rate, respiratory rate, time to relaxation, escape response, loss of righting reflex, and response to noxious stimuli (fin pinch) were evaluated and recorded at baseline and 5, 10, 15, 30, 45, 60, and 75 min after propofol administration. A surgical plane of anesthesia was achieved when the shark lost its righting reflex, did not respond to noxious painful stimuli, and no longer resisted handling. The righting reflex was lost within 5 min of propofol administration, and a surgical plane of anesthesia was observed in all nine sharks. Heart rate (P = 0.5) and respiratory rate (P = 0.5) did not change significantly over time. The righting response returned within 60 min in 44% (4/9) of the sharks, 75 min in 22% (2/ 9) of the sharks, and over 200 min in 33% (3/9) of the sharks. All nine animals recovered uneventfully. Propofol provided a safe anesthetic event for spotted bamboo sharks.
Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Vol. 36 • No. 4
Vol. 36 • No. 4
spotted bamboo shark