Veronica Adetunji, John Ogunsola


Capture or exertional myopathy is an attendant complication of manual restraint in ratites, asides physical injuries that handlers may suffer. 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 from Onireke to Jericho area in Oyo State, Nigeria. The birds were fasted overnight, administered with diazepam (3mg/kg) orally and ketamine (10mg/kg) intramuscularly. Mild sedation was achieved with diazepam after one hour. The birds were successfully transported. Complete recovery was achieved at about 8hours post-administration of ketamine. Anaesthetic agents did not alter the haematologic parameters. We conclude that the diazepam-ketamine combination is generally safe for ratites and that oral administration of diazepam accompanied by intramuscular administration of ketamine provides restraint in ratites while also avoiding the risk of capture myopathy. It is suggested that the current dose of diazepam might need to be increased if the oral route is to be employed so as to shorten the onset of sedation and increase the depth of sedation.


Capture myopathy; chemical restraint; ostrich

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