Mumm, L. E., Mans, C. 2022. Evaluation of dexmedetomidine-midazolam sedation in budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus). Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 260(10), 1194–1199.

OBJECTIVE To evaluate the sedative effects of IM administration of a high or low dose of dexmedetomidine in combination with midazolam in budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus). ANIMALS 20 healthy adult budgerigars. PROCEDURES In a prospective, randomized, blinded study, birds were sedated with a high dose (HD; 0.04 mg/kg, IM; n = 10) or low dose (LD; 0.01 mg/kg, IM; 10) of dexmedetomidine in combination with midazolam (3 mg/kg, IM). Twenty minutes later, atipamezole (0.4 mg/kg [HD group] or 0.1 mg/kg [LD group], IM) and flumazenil (0.1 mg/kg, IM) were administered for reversal of sedation. RESULTS Times to first effect and to sternal recumbency after administration of the sedatives and times to standing and eating after administration of the antagonists did not differ between groups. Most birds (9/10 in the HD group and 7/10 in the LD group) lost the righting response by 10 minutes after sedative administration, and the peak effect for radiographic positioning was by 15 minutes. Although it was not clinically relevant, most birds showed mild resedation by 60 minutes after administration of the reversal agents. There was no significant cardiorespiratory compromise detected with either protocol. CLINICAL RELEVANCE Dexmedetomidine-midazolam can safely and effectively provide a dose-dependent level of sedation in healthy budgerigars. The HD protocol is recommended for radiographic positioning, as it allows for a more reliable, deeper plane of sedation.

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