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Use of midazolam, pethidine, ketamine and thiopentone for the restraint of southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina)
  1. R Woods,
  2. S McLean,
  3. S Nicol and
  4. H Burton
  1. School of Pharmacy, University of Tasmania, Australian Antarctic Division, Kingston.


Thirty-two pre-moulting female southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) were heavily sedated with midazolam (0.04 mg/kg) combined with pethidine (4 mg/kg). This combination made it possible to give the seals intravenous injections and was rapidly antagonised by naloxone. After sedation with midazolam and pethidine, 2 to 3 mg/kg intravenous thiopentone or ketamine induced light immobilisation for approximately five minutes and allowed the animals to be intubated. Prolonged deep levels of restraint were achieved after sedation with midazolam and pethidine by repeated intravenous doses of approximately 1.5 mg ketamine/kg at 10 minute intervals, to maintain restraint for 60 minutes.

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