Application of Oxygen During Medetomidine and Ketamine Immobilization of Wolverines (Gulo gulo)

Meghan D Riley, Mark L Packila, Robert S Spence, Robert M Inman


chemical immobilization involves risks for study animals. Research indicates that anesthetized Wolverines (Gulo gulo) can develop hypoxemia due to drug-induced physiological changes and altitude. We administered supplemental oxygen intranasally at flow rates between 0.5 and 1.5 l/min to Wolverines immobilized by edetomidine and ketamine between ~2110–2880 m in the Rocky Mountains. Following capture in log box traps, we measured hemoglobin oxygen saturation (SpO2) and rectal temperature before and after application of oxygen using a pulse oximeter and digital thermometer. We determined oxygen flow rates based on the volume required to reach a SpO2 reading over 90%. We observed initial hemoglobin oxygen saturation below 75%, indicating hypoxemia, for all Wolverines handled. Supplemental oxygen reversed the hypoxemia, increasing hemoglobin oxygen saturation to over 90% within 13 min in all cases. We recommend that supplemental oxygen be provided to immobilized
Wolverines anesthetized using medetomidine and ketamine to guard against hypoxemia.


Altitude; anesthesia; chemical immobilization; elevation; Gulo gulo; ketamine; medetomidine; oxygen; Wolverine

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