Few vets see pet chickens”During the manuscript’s review process, we did find a fewveteran veterinarians that knew the standard anesthesia processdidn’t work on chickens,” Wyatt said. “The chemicals that werebeing used work just fine on rats, cats, dogs and birds likepigeons and parrots. You just don’t find many veterinarians outthere performing surgery on pet chickens.”In the summer of 2002, Clifton and Varner reapplied to the YSPand were reassigned to Wyatt. That summer their research wasapplied in Wyatt’s laboratory. Isoflurane was used to performminor research surgeries on chickens.Isoflurane is expensive to use because you need an anesthesiamachine. But it’s more humane for the chickens and better forresearch. “The UGA avian genetics group is doing remarkableresearch using this method,” he said.YSP can be an invaluable learning experience for high schoolstudents, he said. It often helps them decide what they want tostudy in college.”The Young Scholars Program gives students an opportunity thattakes them from start to finish with a tangible product at theend,” he said.Varner is now a sophomore majoring in math education at UGA.Clifton is a sophomore majoring in health policy andadministration at the University of North Carolina.(Chowning Johnson is a student writer and Sharon Omahen a newseditor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural andEnvironmental Sciences.) The toe-pinch test revealed the problem”We uncovered this in the same way a doctor would with a humanpatient,” Wyatt said. “We put the chicken under, did a toe-pinchtest and saw a reaction.”They tested Ketamine-xylazine and ketamine-diazepam, injectableanesthetics, and Isoflurane gas, an inhalant anesthetic. All areused in surgery for mammals.They checked the chickens’ heart rates, respiration, bodytemperatures, blood glucose and response to moderate toe-pinchesat timed increments before, during and after the anesthesia use.The ketamine-xylazine and ketamine-diazepam didn’t achieve asurgical plane of anesthesia for the chickens. Ketamine withxylazine could even kill the chickens.Isoflurane produced a safe surgical plane of anesthesia for thechickens.Wyatt, Poulos and J. Roger Broderson, a former UGA director ofanimal care and use, helped Clifton and Varner prepare themanuscript that was published in “Lab Animal.” By Chowning Johnson &Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaIf you go to a hospital to have surgery, you want the anesthesiato work. Two Georgia high school students in a University ofGeorgia internship program have made sure it works for chickens,too.Jack Varner and Kelli Clifton participated in the UGA YoungScholars Program in 2001 and 2002. Their research on theeffectiveness of three anesthetic regimes on chickens waspublished in the peer-reviewed journal, “Lab Animal,” in May2004.The Young Scholars Program was started in 1999. The six-weeksummer program, matches high school students with scientists inthe UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Introducing students to common ag surgeriesRoger Wyatt, a UGA professor emeritus of poultry science, helpedVarner and Clifton design their experiment. He wanted to acquaintthem with simple small-animal surgeries.Chickens are commonly used in scientific research laboratories,Wyatt said.”We use chickens in our research at UGA because there are severalsimple surgical procedures students can perform easily on them,”he said. “You can teach a student to castrate a chicken, acommon agricultural procedure, and do so in a laboratory. It’sanalogous to doing the same thing to a steer.”Both students showed interest in pursuing careers in veterinaryor human medicine. “So this project was a perfect fit,” he said.Until this experiment, not much was known about regimes thatproduce a surgical level of anesthesia for chickens and not hurtthem.With the help of UGA veterinary student Stacy Poulos, they foundthat chemicals commonly used in animal anesthesia didn’t putchickens in a state in which they couldn’t feel pain.