Anesthetic protocols that allow quick induction, short processing time, and rapid reversal are necessary for researchers performing minimally invasive procedures (including morphometric measurements or attachment of radiocollars). The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of medetomidine and butorphanol as a substitute for xylazine in ketamine-based field immobilization protocols for bobcats (Lynx rufus) to reduce recovery and total field times. During 2008 and 2009, 11 bobcats were immobilized with an intramuscular combination of ketamine (10 mg/kg)-xylazine (0.75 mg/kg) (KX) or ketamine (4 mg/kg)-medetomidine (40 mcg/kg)-butorphanol (0.4 mg/kg) (KMB). Time to initial sedation, recumbency, and full anesthesia were recorded postinjection. Time to head up, sternal, standing, full recovery, and total processing times were recorded post-reversal. Throughout anesthesia, heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR), rectal temperature (RT), and noninvasive hemoglobin-oxygen saturation (SpO2) were recorded at 5-min intervals. The KX combination had a median time to full anesthesia of 10 min, a median recovery time of 46 min, and a median total processing time of 83 min. Alternatively, the KMB combination had a median time to full anesthesia of 21 min, a median recovery time of 18 min, and a median total processing time of 64 min. The KX protocol produced a median HR of 129 beats/min, RR of 25 breaths/min, RT of 38.3°C, and SpO2 of 93%. The KMB protocol produced a median HR of 97 beats/min, RR of 33 breaths/min, RT of 38.4°C, and SpO2 of 92%. Though both protocols provided safe and reliable sedation, the benefits of using medetomidine and butorphanol to lower ketamine doses and decrease processing time for brief nonsurgical sedation of bobcats in the field are presented.
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