Chemical immobilization of free-ranging and captive Sunda clouded leopards (Neofelis diardi) with two anesthetic protocols: medetomidine-ketamine and tiletamine-zolazepam.
Nájera F., Hearn AJ., Ross J., Ramírez Saldivar DA., Evans MN., Guerrero-Sánchez S., Nathan SKSS., DE Gaspar Simón I., Macdonald DW., Goossens B., Revuelta Rueda L.
There is currently no available information regarding the veterinary management of Sunda clouded leopards (Neofelis diardi), either in captivity or in the wild. In this study, 12 Sunda clouded leopards were anesthetized between January 2008 and February 2014 for medical exams, and/or GPS-collaring. Seven wild-caught individuals were kept in captivity and 5 free-ranging animals were captured by cage traps. Two anesthesia combinations were used: medetomidine-ketamine (M-K) or tiletamine-zolazepam (T-Z). Atipamezole (0.2 mg/kg im) was used as an antagonist for medetomidine. Medetomidine (range: 0.039-0.054 mg/kg) and ketamine (range: 3-4.39 mg/kg) were administered during 5 immobilizations, resulting in median induction times of 7 min. After a median anesthesia time of 56 min, atipamezole was injected, observing effects of antagonism at a median time of 12 min. T-Z (range: 6.8-10.8 mg/kg) was administered on 7 occasions. Median induction times observed with this combination were shorter than with M-K (4 min vs 7 min; P=0.04), and anesthesia and recovery times were significantly longer (244 and 35 min vs 56 and 16 min, respectively; P=0.02). Lower heart rates were measured in the M-K group, while lower rectal temperatures were found in the T-Z group. Both combinations resulted in safe and reliable immobilizations, although given the favorable anesthesia and recovery times of M-K, we recommend this approach over T-Z for the veterinary handling of Sunda clouded leopards.