2020 journal article
SEDATIVE AND CARDIORESPIRATORY EFFECTS OF INTRAMUSCULAR ALFAXALONE AND BUTORPHANOL AT TWO DOSAGES IN FERRETS (MUSTELA PUTORIUS FURO)
JOURNAL OF ZOO AND WILDLIFE MEDICINE, 51(4), 841–847.
Veterinary care of ferrets often requires chemical restraint. This study hypothesized that IM alfaxalone and butorphanol would result in clinically useful sedation without clinically relevant cardiorespiratory effects. Twelve healthy 15-mo-old ferrets of equal sexes weighing 0.75 to 1.66 kg were enrolled. Using a prospective, blinded design, ferrets randomly received either IM alfaxalone 2.5 mg/kg and butorphanol 0.2 mg/kg (low dose [LD]) or IM alfaxalone 5 mg/kg and butorphanol 0.2 mg/kg (high dose [HD]) (n = 6/group). Sedation times and induction and recovery scores were recorded by a blinded observer. Anesthetic monitor placement was attempted in all recumbent ferrets, and physiologic parameters and reflexes were recorded every 5 min until return of spontaneous movement. Data were assessed for normality using a Shapiro-Wilk normality test and analyzed by two-sample t test or Mann-Whitney U test; one ferret in HD was excluded. Ferrets in LD and HD exhibited moderate and marked sedation, with one of six and four of five ferrets tolerating monitor placement, respectively. Mean ± SD time to first effects, recumbency, and recovery in LD and HD was 2.30 ± 1.13 and 2.054 ± 1.12 (P = 0.7240), 2.87 ± 1.25 and 2.72 ± 1.41 (P = 0.8529), and 65.43 ± 32.43 and 52.30 ± 13.19 (P = 0.4212), respectively. Median (range) duration of recumbency in LD and HD was 31.12 (25.58–115.72) and 35.47 (28.27–44.42) min (P = 0.3290), respectively. Among monitored ferrets, transient mild hypotension and hypoxemia were observed. Intramuscular alfaxalone 5 mg/kg with butorphanol 0.2 mg/kg provided clinically useful sedation in ferrets with mild transient cardiorespiratory derangements.