Ketamine hydrochloride (KH) and xylazine hydrochloride (XH) used in combination (KH-XH) were effective immobilants for captive and wild black bears (Ursus americanus). Single intramuscular injections of 1.5-17.1 mg of KH per kg body weight combined in an approximate ratio of 2:1 with 0.9-10.0 mg of XH per kg body weight immobilized bears for 1.5-197 min. Dosages most frequently used were 4.5-9 mg KH/kg with 2-4.5 mg XH/kg. Supplemental administrations maintained tractability for up to 31 h. Immobilization was characterized by smooth induction, relaxed muscles, occasional groaning and vomition, no eye closure, no defecation, and a smooth recovery phase of variable length. Male and female bears responded similarly to KH-XH. Induction times for small bears (≤ 25 kg) were shorter than for larger bears.

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Author notes


Research Section, Wildlife Branch Contribution No. 78-10.