A comparison of the clinical effects associated with xylazine, ketamine, and a xylazine-ketamine cocktail in pigeons (Columba livia)


Abstract: A study was conducted to compare the clinical effects of xylazine, ketamine, and a cocktail of them in pigeons (Columbia livia). For this study 15 adult and healthy pigeons were divided into 3 equal groups: A - xylazine (16 mg/kg), B - ketamine (60 mg/kg) and C - xylazine-ketamine cocktail (8 mg/kg + 30 mg/kg, respectively). All treatments were administered intramuscularly. Onset of action was smooth with a mean time of onset of 13.4 ± 2.78 min, 11 ± 1.49 min, and 1.6 ± 0.51 min, respectively. In group A and B light sedation and a light plane of anaesthesia were achieved, respectively, accompanied by superficial analgesia. Group C birds showed deep anaesthesia accompanied by profound analgesia. Hypothermia, respiratory depression (due to intercostals muscle relaxation and hypothermia) and bradycardia persisted until recovery in groups A and C, while birds in group B showed hyperthermia, tachycardia, and shallow respiration. The effects persisted for 33.7 ± 5.94 min, 47.7 ± 8.06 min, and 112.9 ± 36.51 min, with a recovery period of 65.9 ± 22.22 min, 52.6 ± 9.64 min, and 96.2 ± 19.06 min, for groups A, B, and C, respectively. Recovery was rough in group B and smooth in groups A and C. Results of the study suggested that in pigeons the use of xylazine (alone) is safe for handling and less painful procedures while a xylazine-ketamine cocktail is a suitable anaesthesia for painful procedures at the dosages used in the study. Ketamine alone is not recommended for anaesthesia in pigeons.

Keywords: Xylazine-ketamine cocktail, sedatives, anaesthetics, analgesic, pigeons

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