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Effective sedation methods are important to facilitate safe handling for diagnostic and clinical procedures for small and often delicate birds such as budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus). The aim of this study was to directly compare the time of onset and duration of sedation produced by intranasal administration of xylazine, diazepam, or midazolam in budgerigars. Fifteen (seven male, eight female) clinically healthy mature budgerigars weighing 28.9 +/- 6.1 g were involved in the study Each bird was used three times in a randomized crossover study design with 7 days between treatments. Birds received xylazine (25.6 +/- 2.2 mg/kg), diazepam (13.6 +/- 1.1 mg/kg), or midazolam (13.2 +/- 1.3 mg/kg) intranasally (i.n.) using a micropipette. The onset time and dorsal recumbency duration time were measured and recorded. Sedation was produced in all birds after i.n. administration of xylazine, diazepam, and midazolam. Time to onset of sedation was significantly shorter after midazolam (1.3 +/- 0.44 min) compared with that after xylazine (2.6 +/- 0.89 min) and diazepam (2.8 +/- 0.88 min). Xylazine produced significantly longer duration of sedation (286.0 +/- 28.8 min) than that produced by diazepam (165.40 +/- 19.2 min) and midazolam (71.60 +/- 8.9 min). This study demonstrated that i.n. drug administration could provide fast and reliable sedation in budgerigars. Although i.n. midazolam or diazepam can provide adequate sedation for diagnostic and minor therapeutic procedures, xylazine at the dose used in this study is not recommended because the quality of sedation may be insufficient to perform a clinical procedure.


Amin Bigham Sadegh. Comparison of intranasal administration of xylazine, diazepam, and midazolam in budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus): clinical evaluation. Journal of zoo and wildlife medicine : official publication of the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. 2013 Jun;44(2):241-4

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PMID: 23805540

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