Hawkins, S. J., Doss, G. A., Mans, C. 2020. Evaluation of subcutaneous administration of alfaxalone-midazolam and ketamine-midazolam as sedation protocols in African pygmy hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 257(8), 820-825.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate SC administration of 2 sedation protocols, ketamine-midazolam (KM) and alfaxalone-midazolam (AM), in African pygmy hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris). ANIMALS: 9 healthy adult hedgehogs (5 males, 4 females). PROCEDURES: A randomized, blinded, complete crossover study was performed. Sedation was induced by SC administration of either ketamine (30 mg/kg 14 mg/lb]) with midazolam (1 mg/kg 0.45 mg/lb]) or alfaxalone (3 mg/kg 1.4 mg/lb]) with midazolam (1 mg/kg), including a 2-week washout period between treatments. Flumazenil (0.05 mg/kg 0.02 mg/lb], SC) was administered 45 minutes after administration of either protocol to reverse the effects of midazolam. Physiologic variables, reflexes, and behaviors were monitored. Food intake and body weight were measured before and after sedation. RESULTS: Deep sedation characterized by complete loss of the righting reflex, decreased jaw tone, decreased pelvic limb withdrawal reflex, and preservation of the palpebral reflex was produced in 7 of 9 hedgehogs after KM administration and all 9 hedgehogs after AM administration. Mean ± SD time to loss of righting reflex was 6.4 ± 2.4 minutes after KM administration and 10 ± 4.0 minutes after AM administration. Following flumazenil administration, no significant difference was found in recovery time between sedation with KM (18.8 ± 12.7 minutes) and AM (14.4 ± 7.8 minutes). No significant differences were found in respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, or body temperature between protocols, whereas heart rate was higher for sedation with KM. Both sedation protocols resulted in a transient reduction in food intake. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Subcutaneous administration of KM and AM provided deep sedation that might be useful to facilitate routine, noninvasive procedures in hedgehogs.