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Journal of the South African Veterinary Association

On-line version ISSN 2224-9435
Print version ISSN 1019-9128


AZIZPOUR, Aidin  and  HASSANI, Yashar. Clinical evaluation of general anaesthesia in pigeons using a combination of ketamine and diazepam. J. S. Afr. Vet. Assoc. [online]. 2012, vol.83, n.1, pp.24-28. ISSN 2224-9435.

This study was undertaken to investigate the clinical effects of ketamine, diazepam and a ketamine and diazepam combination in the general anaesthesia of pigeons. Thirty-two pigeons of both sexes with body weights ranging from 280 g to 300 g were allocated randomly to four groups comprising eight birds each. Group D received a 0.5 mL mixture of diazepam (0.2 mg/kg) and normal saline, group K a 0.5 mL mixture of ketamine 5% (30 mg/kg) and normal saline, group D, group KD a 0.5 mL mixture of ketamine 5% (10 mg/kg), diazepam (0.2 mg/kg) and normal saline, whilst group C (control) received 0.5 mL of normal saline only. Each mixture was administered intramuscularly. Under standard operating room conditions, general anaesthesia was not observed in group C (normal saline alone). In group D, sedation and muscle relaxation without complete loss of consciousness was observed. Induction time of anaesthesia in group KD was significantly quicker than group K (p< 0.05). Duration of anaesthesia in group KD was significantly longer than group K (p< 0.05). Recovery took longer in group KD in comparison with group K, but the difference was not statistically significant (p > 0.05). The birds in group KD were calm and sedated, with good muscle relaxation, whilst in group K the birds were excited and showed a drop in body temperature. According to the results of this study, the combination of low dose ketamine hydrochloride (HCL) and diazepam overcame the adverse effects of ketamine alone. This combination produced a more rapid induction of anaesthesia, as well as an increase in anaesthesia duration, with good muscle relaxation and a smooth and slow recovery. Use of a combination of ketamine HCL given at 10 mg/kg and diazepam given at 0.2 mg/kg for anaesthesia in pigeons is therefore recommended.

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