The sedative effects of diazepam, midazolam, and xylazine after intranasal administration were evaluated in 72 (36 male and 36 female) juvenile healthy ostriches ( Struthio camelus ), weighing 50-61 kg and aged 4-5 months. The birds were randomly divided into 3 groups (n = 24), then each group was further subdivided to 4 subgroups (n = 6). For each drug, 4 different doses were chosen and the total calculated dose was equally administered into either naris of the individual bird. The appropriate dose of each drug to produce standing chemical restraint or sternal recumbency was evaluated based on the onset time, the duration of maximum effect, and the duration of sedation. Midazolam showed significantly shorter onset time (2.9 ± 1.2 minutes) compared with xylazine (4.4 ± 1 minute) and diazepam (4.3 ± 0.4 minutes). Longer duration of sedation was also achieved with midazolam compared with xylazine and diazepam. Moderate sedation was achieved with diazepam (0.8 mg/kg), midazolam (0.4 mg/kg), and xylazine (2 mg/kg) for standing chemical restraint, with the maximum duration effects of 7.0 ± 1.4, 17.7 ± 4.1, and 9.2 ± 2.5 minutes, respectively. Deep sedation was also achieved with midazolam (0.8 mg/kg) and xylazine (4 mg/kg), with sternal recumbency duration of 21.7 ± 4.9 and 13.5 ± 2.6 minutes, respectively. The results of the present study show that intranasal administration can be an effective route for delivery of sedatives in juvenile ostriches. Intranasal midazolam and xylazine could be suggested for standing chemical restraint or inducing sternal recumbency in juvenile ostriches.
Keywords: Struthio camelus; avian; diazepam; intranasal; midazolam; ostrich; sedation; xylazine.