Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Iowa
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Jacques, C.N.; R.W. Klaver; C.S. DePerno; A.P. Rockhill. 2024.Comparing the efficacy of two immobilization drug combinations for the chemical restraint of bobcats. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 60:86-94


Chemical immobilization agents that provide rapid induction time, short duration of action, wide margin of safety, and post reversal recovery are important attributes to the handling process of immobilized animals. We evaluated differences in induction, recovery, and physiologic parameters in 23 (13 female, nine adults and four yearlings; 10 male, nine adults and one yearling)free-ranging bobcats (Lynx rufus) chemically immobilized with an intramuscular combination of ketamine (10 mg/kg) and xylazine (KX; 1.5 mg/kg; n¼11) or a combination of butorphanol (0.8 mg/kg), azaperone (0.27 mg/kg), and medetomidine (BAM; 0.32 mg/kg; n¼12). Induction parameters, time to first effect, hemoglobin oxygen saturation, and anesthesia between bobcats administered KX and BAM were similar. Pulse rate was significantly higher for KX than for BAM. Time to standing and full recovery after reversal were faster for bobcats administered BAM than KX. Six of 11 (55%)bobcats given KX were effectively immobilized with a single injection, and five required additional drugs to allow adequate time for processing. Of 12 bobcats given BAM, six (50%) were effectively immobilized with a single injection, three (25%) individuals were not completely immobilized and required additional doses to allow adequate time for processing, and three (25%) required additional doses after complete arousal during processing. We found that BAM provided reduced sedation and processing times (,30 min), whereas KX provided extended sedation and processing times beyond30 min. We suggest that researchers increase initial BAM drug volumes for yearling and adult bobcats at time of processing and consider taking appropriate safety precautions when handling free-ranging bobcats.