Oral Drugs Used To Capture Waterfowl

Between 1964 and 1968, diazepam, methohexital, methoxymol, secobarbital and tribromoethanol were administered on bait to free-feeding waterfowl of several species in Florida. Characteristics for each of five such agents include varying speed of induction, duration of anesthesia, toxicity, and other pharmacological considerations. Anesthesia was produced with several dosages of each compound, but additional tests are needed to refine dosage rates. Distasteful compounds were not readily ingested which may have biased results in a few cases. The use of anesthetic agents for zoo and domestic animals has been discussed by Lumb (1963), Lawrence and Bacharach (1964), and Barnes and Eltherington (1966), but little information is available about anesthetic agents for wild animals. Literature on the relatively few central nervous system depressants which have been used orally to capture wildlife is reviewed elesewhere in these proceedings (Crider, et aI, 19681. Until now alpha-chloralose has been the principal agent used. Williams (1966), Crider and McDaniel (1966), and Crider and McDaniel (1967) suggested that faster acting compounds would improve the capture of wild turkeys (Melagris gallopavo), Canada geese (Branta canadensis) and several species of ducks. The objective of this study was to test rapid-acting, safe drugs which might be substituted for alpha-chloralose. The continuing search for better anesthetic and tranquilizing agents in human and veterinary medicine has produced a number of marketed compounds that might serve this purpose. This report presents the results of several drug-to-bait mixtures of five drugs in free-feeding waterfowl. These data were collected in Florida. Also collected during this study, but not included here, are data on secobarbital and triflupromazine to capture Canada geese and stelazine to potentiate secobarbital anesthesia. These data were not conclusive enough to be presented here but they can be found in Florida Pittman-Robertson Project, W-48-R Annual Report (Crider, 19671.

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