Use of diazepam and ketamine anaesthesia in prevention of capture myopathy in the ostrich (Struthio camelus)
Capture or exertion myopathy (CM) is an attendant complication of manual restraint in ratites, asides physical injuries that handlers may suffer. CM arises from a combination of stress and anaerobic glycolysis during handling. This work was carried out to restrain and immobilize two ostriches (Struthio camelus) in a bid to facilitate their clinical examination and transportation from one location to another, without subjecting the birds to capture myopathy that arises from the stress and exertion associated with physical restraint and capture. Two ostriches, male and female, weighing 120kg and 105kg respectively, were requested to be immobilized for relocation over a distance of 15 kilometres within Ibadan metropolis of Oyo State, Nigeria. The birds were fasted for 16 hours overnight and fed little amounts of feed mixed with diazepam at 3mg/kg. Mild sedation was achieved with diazepam after one hour. Samples for haematology and coprology were obtained. Ketamine at 10mg/kg was then administered intramuscularly. The birds were successfully transported. Complete recovery was 3 hours post administration of ketamine. We conclude that the diazepam and ketamine combination is generally safe to use for restraint and transportation of ratites and at the same time prevent the risk of capture myopathy. We suggest that the current dose of diazepam might need to be increased if the oral route is to be employed in order to shorten the onset of sedation and increase the depth of sedation.
Keywords: Capture myopathy, Chemical restraint, Haematology, Nigeria, Ostrich