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Przewalski’s horses, formerly extinct in the wild, have been reintroduced to their former natural range in Mongolia thanks to the efforts of international zoo-based conservation breeding programs. Safe anesthesia is a key requirement for successful veterinary interventions in this species. However, ultra-potent opioid drugs, including etorphine, traditionally used to induce anesthesia in wild equids, are associated with severe respiratory depression and other potentially life-threatening complications. Researchers will evaluate an alternative drug combination for Przewalski’s horses that does not use etorphine. The development of safer anesthetic techniques will help with the conservation and health management of this endangered species both in captivity and in the wild and may benefit other wild equid species.

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Toronto Zoo
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Ellie Milnes, VetMB, DiplACZM
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