Field anaesthetic and surgical techniques for implantation of intraperitoneal radio transmitters in Eurasian beavers Castor fiber
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionWildlife biology 10(2004), No. 1, p. 11-15
Radio transmitters were implanted intraperitoneally in 22 (nine females, 13 males) adult, territorial Eurasian beavers Castor fiber under field conditions. Two different injectable anaesthestic drug combinations were tested. Access to the peritoneal cavity was made through a ventral midline incision. The animals in group # 1 (N = 10) were initially injected with medetomidine (0.05 mg/kg), ketamine (5 mg/kg) and butorphanol (0.1 mg/kg). Three animals needed additional injections of the drug combination. Muscle relaxation was poor and variable and some of the animals were sound sensitive. When midazolam (0.25 mg/kg) was added to the drug combination (group # 2), muscle relaxation was excellent and the beavers (N = 12) did not react to sound stimuli. All surgeries were successfully performed. One animal in group # 1 died postoperatively due to circulatory failure. The behaviour and movements of the beavers did not appear to be affected by the procedure or the implant, except for the first few days when more time was spent inside the lodges. All beavers stayed in their original territory until they died, or as long as 17-24 months after the implantation. Based on these results, it appears that an injectable drug combination based on medetomidine, ketamine, butorphanol and midazolam and a surgical access through the ventral midline is suitable for implanting radio transmitters intraperitoneally in beavers under field conditions.