The aim of the present study was to assess the feasibility of intraosseous anaesthetic drug administration in domestic pigeons and to compare this method with an intramuscular technique for clinical parameters (induction quality and recovery of anaesthesia), heart-respiratory rate and cloacal temperature. Sixteen clinically healthy mature pigeons (7 mate and 9 female) were included into the study. The birds were allocated into two groups as group I and II. Pigeons in group I received 50 mg/kg ketamine by intraosseous route (10) and birds in group II received intramuscular (IM) ketamine application at a dose of 50 mg/kg. Heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR) and cloacal temperature (CT) were measured before (0 min) and 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 min after anaesthetic drug administration. Clinical and anaesthetic effect of the ketamine used in different route were assessed. Statistical assessment performed between the groups revealed that RR in IM group was higher than in 10 group between 1 and 3 min (p < 0.001 and p < 0.01, respectively), whereas in 15 min it was higher in 10 group than IM (p < 0.01) (Fig. 1A). Compared to baseline values, there was a decrease for HR within 3 to 15 min for both groups. However, this was statistically different between 5, 10 and 15 min for IM group. No significant alterations were recorded for CT during the anaesthesia for both groups. The anaesthetic effect of the ketamine started 1 to 3 min (1.8 +/- 0.4) after injection for Group I and 5 to 10 min (7.5 +/- 0.8) for Group II. The recovery time ranged from 50 to 75 min (62 +/- 15) for Group I and 80 to 100 min (90 +/- 12) for the Group II. Intraosseous and intramuscular ketamine administration resulted in a satisfactory anaesthesia, in pigeons. However, intraosseous drug administration provided a more rapid and effective anaesthesia and might be useful for the birds requiring urgent anaesthesia. (C) 2007 Published by Elsevier Ltd.