U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service




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Ellis, C.K., M.E. Wehtje, L.L. Wolfe, P.L. Wolff, C.D. Hilton, M.C. Fisher, S. Green, M.P. Glow, J.M. Halseth, M.J. Lavelle, N.P. Snow, E.H. VanNatta, J.C. Rhyan, K.C. VerCauteren, W.R. Lance, and P. Nol. 2019. Comparison of the efficacy of four drug combinations for immobilization of wild pigs. European Journal of Wildlife Research 65:78. doi: 10.1007/s10344-019-1317-z


Field immobilization of native or invasive wild pigs (Sus scrofa) is challenging. Drug combinations commonly used often result in unsatisfactory immobilization, poor recovery, and adverse side effects, leading to unsafe handling conditions for both animals and humans. We compared four chemical immobilization combinations, medetomidine–midazolam–butorphanol (MMB), butorphanol–azaperone–medetomidine (BAM™), nalbuphine–medetomidine–azaperone (NalMed-A), and tiletamine– zolazepam–xylazine (TZX), to determine which drug combinations might provide better chemical immobilization of wild pigs. We achieved adequate immobilization with no post-recovery morbidity withMMB. Adequate immobilization was achieved with BAM™; however, we observed post-recovery morbidity. Both MMB and BAM™ produced more optimal results relative to body temperature, recovery, and post-recovery morbidity and mortality compared to TZX. Adequate immobilization was not achieved with NalMed-A. Of the four drug combinations examined, we conclude that MMB performed most optimally for immobilization and recovery of wild pigs.