Chemical restraint, through the use of veterinary drugs, has to be administered by a specialist, such as a veterinary surgeon.
Chemical restraint methods may be used to:
- Reduce responsiveness through sedation – sedation reduces the responsiveness of an animal but does not produce unconsciousness; the animal may still react to stimulation
- Totally immobilise through anaesthesia – this may be used if the nature of the incident requires additional control; it can be delivered by injection, blow pipe or dart gun
The effects and timescales of chemical restraint will vary depending on the method, dosage and levels of stimulation experienced by the animal, before and during its rescue. It may be necessary for the chemical restraint to remain effective after rescuing the animal, for example to assist with taking it to an appropriate destination.
A suitable and safe anaesthesia recovery area will need to be identified for the animal to remain in, until it has sufficiently recovered from the effects of the anaesthetic.
The drugs and administering equipment, such as needles and syringes, used to carry out chemical restraint are extremely hazardous. The veterinary surgeon has responsibility for the safety of these items, but emergency responders should be made aware of their presence.