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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Non-invasive blood pressure and other physiological data in chemically immobilized brown bears (Ursus arctos)

Morelli, Jacopo; Briganti, Angela; Fuchs, Boris; Huber, Duro; Evans, Alina L.; Babic, Natarsha; Reljic, Slaven; Paden, Lana; Arnemo, Jon M.


Free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos) were snared and subsequently darted with a combination of xylazine-ketamine in Croatia (n = 5) or darted from a helicopter with a combination of medetomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam in Scandinavia (n = 20). Three adults and one yearling (1 year old) bear were captured in Croatia, with one adult being captured twice. The Scandinavian bears were divided into Group A (yearlings, n = 7) and Group B (subadults, n = 2 and adults, n = 11). The exertion time (time from activation of the trap or from the start of the helicopter chase to recumbency) and the induction time (time from darting to recumbency) were recorded. The rectal temperature (Tr) was measured as soon as possible after induction and then monitored at frequent intervals (varied between individuals) in immobilized bears. Blood pressure (BP) was measured with a non-invasive method (Korotkoff's technique) every 5 minutes. The heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR), and arterial haemoglobin oxygen saturation (SpO(2)) were recorded every 5 minutes. Reliability of the BP monitoring technique, trends of variation of the physiological variables, and the factors related to the capture were assessed. Both exertion and induction times were longer in Croatian bears than in Scandinavian bears. In Croatian bears, the Tr was either constant or slightly decreasing, with hyperthermia recorded in two individuals (Tr > 39.0 degrees C). In Scandinavian bears, 17 of 20 individuals developed an initial hyperthermia. Four of five bears in Croatia and 17 of 20 bears in Scandinavia showed a decreasing trend in systolic and mean BP over time. According to the Korotkoff method, all bears were hypertensive(meanBP > 130 mmHg) with varying severity, and the systolic pressure was significantly lower in yearlings when compared to subadults and adults. Yearlings had significantly (p < 0.05) higher HR than subadults and adults, however there was no significant differences in RR, SpO(2), and Tr between the age groups. All Croatian bears and 13 of 20 Scandinavian bears were moderately to severely hypoxemic (SpO(2) < 90%). Further studies with simultaneous invasive and non-invasive (Korotkoff) BP monitoring techniques are required to confirm the accuracy of methods used in this study. The data presented here provides evidence of the physiological impact of different capture methods and chemical immobilization of brown bears in Croatia and Scandinavia. (C) 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc.


Brown bear; Blood pressure; Korotkoff; Hypertension; Heart rate; Respiratory rate; Temperature; Capture

Published in

Data in Brief
2020, Volume: 30, article number: 105646
Publisher: ELSEVIER

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    Clinical Science

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