Veterinary care of non-domestic hoof stock has become more common practice through the integration of veterinary medicine in state and federal natural resource management programs, zoological collections, exotic animal ranching expansion, and hobby collections of exotics. Likewise, veterinarians are expected to have the knowledge and capability to safely anesthetize and handle these animals.
Anesthesia of exotic hoof stock requires the knowledge of not only the pharmacology of the drugs used but also the variation in dose response among families, genera, species, and, in some cases, even subspecies of this group of animals. The second challenge is matching the pharmaceutical tools available with the environment and conditions surrounding the animal and the procedures or events preceding, during, and following the anesthesia. An anesthesia protocol available and practical in a small fenced captive environment in many cases may not be applicable in a free-ranging or large pasture enclosure. It is the combination of all these factors that will dictate what is the “best practice.”