Xylazine hydrochloride and ketamine hydrochloride combinations for general anaesthesia in sheep
Xylazine and Ketamine combinations for general anaesthesia have been used in horses, cattle and goats. The literature available contained little research into the anaesthetic, analgesic, muscle relaxant arid hematologic effect of the comb ina cions in sheep. It was found desirable to investigate these parameters in sheep. A total of 80 experiments were carried out on 60 sheep. The drugs were injected alone cr in combination via the intramuscular and intravenous routes. Rompun (Xylazine Hydrochloride) was used at 0.22 mg/kg while KetaiarR (Ketamine Hydrochloride) was injected at 11 mg/kg. Pain sensation was tested for by pricking with a regular 19 G 1£ inch needle at the horn base, paralumbar fossa and coronet. Muscle relaxation, salivation and nystagmus were evaluated at regular intervals. Temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate were also taken at regular intervals. Jugular blood samples were regularly taken for hematologic examination. Group and individual variations were observed in most of the experiments. Ketamine used alone intravenously and Xylazine used alone by either route failed to cause loss of pain sensation at the coronet of the feet. Both drugs when used either alone or in combination produced analgesia at the horn base and flank, the combination producing faster onset and longer duration. There was a gradual but transient decrease in PCV, RBC and WBC both when the drugs were used alone and when used in combination. MCHC, MCV and differential WBC count were unaffected. It is concluded that Xylazine and Ketamine are safe for general anaesthesia in sheep. However, the duration of anaesthesia is short and the degree analgesia is variable for the different parts of the boJy. The use of the drugs in combination for general anaesthesia in sheep is recommended provided that the Veterinarian is avare of the limitations.
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