KETAMINE-INDUCED IMMOBILIZATION IN THE AFRICAN SIDENECK TURTLE (PELUSIOS CASTANEUS)
Adejumobi, O. A. and Olukole, S. G*
Chemical immobilization of six adult African sideneck turtles was carried out using varied doses of ketamine with the view of determining the effective and clinically tolerable dose of the drug in the animal that may be required in zoological medical practice. The turtles were divided into three groups of 2 animals each. Using the lateral aspect of the thigh muscle, intramuscular injections of ketamine were administered 12.5, 25 and 50 mg/kg body weight for groups I, II and III, respectively. Stages of immobilization in the turtles were observed and categorized into five stages: I- Partial extension of the head with retraction when touched; II- partial relaxation of the limbs; III- full relaxation of the head and limbs with partial extension of the tail; IV- full extension of the head, limbs and tail with no retraction when touched; and V- complete recovery from anaesthesia (complete regain of routine activities by the turtle). There were no significant differences (P< 0.05) in the time taken for the turtles to attain to all the stages across the groups. Full recovery from anaesthesia took place 80, 126 and 243 minutes after immobilization for groups I, II and III, respectively. Intramuscular injection of ketamine at 12.5 mg/kg body weight is therefore recommended in chemical immobilization of the African sideneck turtle for routine blood collection and other biometrical and clinical observations. Also, ketamine-induced immobilization at doses higher than 12.5 mg/kg body weight should be avoided in the animal because of the prolonged duration of anaesthesia observed in the study. The information made available by this study is expected to be useful in zoological medical practice.
Keywords: Ketamine, immobilization, turtle, intramuscular, African sideneck turtle.
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