Objective: To determine safety and efficacy of an anesthetic protocol incorporating medetomidine, ketamine, and sevoflurane for anesthesia of injured loggerhead sea turtles.
Design: Retrospective study.
Animals: 13 loggerhead sea turtles.
Procedure: Anesthesia was induced with medetomidine (50 microg/kg [22.7 microg/lb], IV) and ketamine (5 mg/kg (2.3 mg/lb], IV) and maintained with sevoflurane (0.5 to 2.5%) in oxygen. Sevoflurane was delivered with a pressure-limited intermittent-flow ventilator. Heart rate and rhythm, end-tidal partial pressure of CO2, and cloacal temperature were monitored continuously; venous blood gas analyses were performed intermittently. Administration of sevoflurane was discontinued 30 to 60 minutes prior to the end of the surgical procedure. Atipamezole (0.25 mg/kg [0.11 mg/lb], IV) was administered at the end of surgery.
Results: Median induction time was 11 minutes (range, 2 to 40 minutes; n = 11). Median delivered sevoflurane concentrations 15, 30, 60, and 120 minutes after intubation were 2.5 (n = 12), 1.5 (12), 1.25 (12), and 0.5% (8), respectively. Heart rate decreased during surgery to a median value of 15 beats/min (n = 11). End-tidal partial pressure of CO2 ranged from 2 to 16 mm Hg (n = 8); median blood gas values were within reference limits. Median time from atipamezole administration to extubation was 14 minutes (range, 2 to 84 minutes; n = 7).
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Results suggest that a combination of medetomidine and ketamine for induction and sevoflurane for maintenance provides safe, effective, controllable anesthesia in injured loggerhead sea turtles.