The purpose of this study was to provide safe anesthesia for bronchoalveolar lavage and assess the utility of premedication with i.m. midazolam for short-duration anesthesia with isoflurane in harp seals (Phoca groenlandica). Fourteen yearling harp seal pups were anesthetized three times each as part of a prospective, cross-over, blinded study. Each animal received i.m. premedication with saline, low-dose, or high-dose midazolam (respectively 0.1 and 0.2 mg/ kg). Following premedication, anesthesia was induced with 4% isoflurane in oxygen delivered through a mask and connected to a Bain non-rebreathing system. A significantly longer time was taken from the end of general anesthesia to head movement in the high-dose group compared with the saline group (P = 0.002). A significantly longer time was taken from the end of general anesthesia to ambulation in the high-dose group compared with the saline group (P = 0.006). There were no significant differences between groups in the subjective assessment of anesthetic quality or ease of intubation. Premedication with i.m. midazolam at the dosages used did prolong recovery from anesthesia, although to a degree unlikely to be significant clinically.
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Vol. 37 • No. 1