Tranquilizer/sedative/anesthetic options for temporary restraint of canine patients (Proceedings)
Obvious (but important) Principles
Appropriate physical exam and other evaluation as indicated
A Few of Our Favorite Methods
1) Acepromazine - reliable tranquilization, not recommended for vicious or potentially dangerous animals, side effects are
primarily hypotension but rarely some seizure-prone patients may develop seizures, contraindicated in shock or other hypovolemic
conditions and in patients with liver disease, duration of effect 2 - 4 hrs, which is too long for most purposes.
2) Acepromazine & Torbugesic (or other opioid) - substantial and reliable effect; not as often recommended for older/compromised
patients; fairly prolonged effect, particularly if hepatic function is impaired; may not be the best choice for out-patients
since return to "street fitness" often requires 4-6 hrs.
3) Valium (diazepam) & Torbugesic - less "heavy handed" than Ace & Torbugesic, but also a less substantial and less reliable
effect; one of our favorite pre-anesthetic choices for the debilitated generic or geriatric/high risk patient; expect peak
effects to last for about 30 min with return to "street- fitness" within 1-2 hrs. Midazolam (Versed) is currently taking the
place of diazepam. One-half the listed dose of Valium or Versed is often adequate. Excitement and disorientation may occur
and patient should not be stimulated nor trusted to remain sedate.
4) Telazol - remarkable physiologic stability, but beware of respiratory depression and potential to initiate seizures; avoid
in patients with respiratory compromise and in those with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or seizure history or certain intracranial
or intraocular disorders (increases IOP and ICP). Expect fairly full recovery within 2 hours, but some residual effects are
unfortunately too common.
5) Dex-Medetomidine (Dexdomitor) – powerful sedative/hypnotic, similar to medetomidine (Domitor). Recommended for young, healthy, exercise-tolerant dogs. Patient monitoring is important. Availability of specific antagonist (Antisedan) contributes to safety and utility. Useful for examinations and brief procedures. Profound bradycardia and hypertension may occur. Tissue perfusion is decreased. Pulse oximeters may fail to detect signal. Use of atropine or other anticholinergics is controversial. We avoid the anticholinergics. Standard dose is scaled to body surface area (see box label).
6) We use a low dose Dexdomitor method (typically 0.0005 to 0.0025 mg/kg), combined with Torbugesic (0.2-0.4 mg/kg). These low doses of Dexdomitor, when combined with an opioid, are very effective. Reversal with Antisedan (by IM injection only) leaves the mild Torbugesic effect intact. Reversal is less often needed with Dexdomitor than with Domitor. Differences in duration of effect and in sedation may be related to the presence of "levo-domitor" in the earlier (Domitor) formulation.