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Open Access Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Thermoregulatory, Sedative, and Analgesic Effects of Intravenous Administration of Medetomidine in Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta)

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Background and Purpose: Medetomidine is a selective, specific, and potent 2-adrenergic receptor agonist that has been utilized successfully as a sedative/analgesic agent in a variety of domestic and nondomestic animals. The objective of this study was to document the physiological effects of the intravenous administration of medetomidine in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta).

Methods: Fifteen healthy rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), 5 to 15 years old and weighing 5.5 to 11.8 kg, were given four dosages of medetomidine (50, 100, 150, and 200 g/kg of body weight) intravenously, and cardiovascular, respiratory, thermoregulatory, sedative, and analgesic effects were determined.

Results: All four doses of medetomidine induced a similar and significant decrease in mean arterial pressure, as well as a transient but significant increase in respiratory rate followed by a longer-lasting significant decrease. Bradycardia, hypotension, and loss of thermoregulatory ability accompanied by a biphasic respiratory response and inconsistent sedation, analgesia, and muscular relaxation were observed. Heart rate decrease was rapid for all doses, but was significantly lower and of shorter duration after administration of the 50 g/kg dosage.

Conclusion: The inconsistency of the anesthetic plane induced by intravenous administration of medetomidine precludes it from being used alone to sedate rhesus macaques.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 1999

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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