Acepromazine is a medication that is often used to sedate or calm down dogs who are anxious, aggressive, or have motion sickness. However, this drug is not without risks and side effects, and it can be fatal if given in high doses or to certain breeds of dogs. In this article, we will explain what acepromazine is, how it works, what are its benefits and drawbacks, how much you should give your dog, and what are some alternatives to this drug.
Table of Contents
- What is Acepromazine and How Does it Work
- What are the Common Uses and Benefits of Acepromazine for Dogs
- What are the Potential Side Effects and Risks of Acepromazine for Dogs?
- How Much Acepromazine Should you Give your Dog And How Often?
What is Acepromazine and How Does it Work
Acepromazine is a type of phenothiazine, which is a class of drugs that act as tranquilizers or sedatives. It works by blocking the dopamine receptors in the brain, which are responsible for regulating emotions and reward-motivated behavior. By doing so, acepromazine reduces the arousal level and anxiety of the dog, making it more calm and relaxed.
Acepromazine can be given as an injection in the muscle, under the skin, or in the vein, usually within the hospital setting. It can also be given as a tablet by mouth. It should be given 45 minutes to an hour prior to a procedure or event. The effects of acepromazine can last from 4 to 8 hours, depending on the dose and the individual dog.
What are the Common Uses and Benefits of Acepromazine for Dogs
Acepromazine is mainly used as a pre-anesthetic agent, meaning that it is given before a surgical procedure to reduce the amount of general anesthesia needed and to prevent complications such as vomiting or seizures. It can also be used for chemical restraint, meaning that it is given to calm down a dog who is aggressive or uncooperative during a veterinary examination or treatment.
Another common use of acepromazine is for treating anxiety and motion sickness in dogs. Some dogs may experience fear or stress when exposed to loud noises, unfamiliar people or animals, car rides, or other situations that trigger their nervous system. Acepromazine can help them cope with these situations by lowering their anxiety and reducing their nausea.
Some of the benefits of acepromazine are:
- It is relatively inexpensive and widely available
- It has a long history of use and safety in veterinary medicine
- It can be given orally or by injection
- It can be combined with other drugs for better sedation or pain relief
- It can reduce the risk of aspiration pneumonia by decreasing salivation and vomiting
What are the Potential Side Effects and Risks of Acepromazine for Dogs?
Like any drug, acepromazine can have some side effects and risks that owners should be aware of before using it. Some of the most common and important side effects of acepromazine are:
- Low blood pressure: Acepromazine can cause a significant drop in blood pressure in some dogs, which can lead to cardiovascular collapse or shock in severe cases. This can be life-threatening and requires immediate veterinary attention.
- Decreased tear production: Acepromazine can reduce the amount of tears produced by the eyes in some dogs, especially cats. This can cause dry eyes or corneal ulcers if left untreated.
- Aggressiveness or hyperactivity: Acepromazine can have paradoxical effects on some dogs, making them more aggressive or hyperactive instead of calm or relaxed. This can happen if the dose is too high or if the dog has an underlying medical or behavioral problem that makes it more sensitive to acepromazine.
- Pain at injection site: Acepromazine can cause temporary pain or irritation at the site of injection in some dogs. This can make them more restless or uncomfortable after receiving the drug.
- Discolored urine: Acepromazine can cause the urine to become mildly discolored pinkish to red-brown in some dogs. This is not harmful and will resolve on its own.
Some of the risk factors that make acepromazine more dangerous for some dogs are:
- Exposure to organophosphates, strychnine, or procaine: These are substances that can interact with acepromazine and cause severe toxicity or death in dogs. They can be found in some insecticides, rodenticides, or local anesthetics. Owners should avoid using these products around their dogs or inform their veterinarian if their dog has been exposed to them before using acepromazine.
- Heart disease, low blood pressure, severe dehydration, tetanus, or shock: These are conditions that can make acepromazine more likely to cause cardiovascular collapse or shock in dogs. Owners should inform their veterinarian if their dog has any of these conditions before using acepromazine.
- Liver disease, heart disease, clotting problems, low platelets: These are conditions that can affect how acepromazine is metabolized or eliminated by the body in dogs. Owners should inform their veterinarian if their dog has any of these conditions before using acepromazine.
- Debilitated, pregnant, or young animals: These are animals that may be more sensitive to acepromazine and require lower doses or more careful monitoring when using it.
- MDR1 mutation: This is a genetic mutation that makes some breeds of dogs (e.g., collies, sheepdogs, and collie- or sheepdog-cross breeds) more sensitive to certain drugs, such as acepromazine. These dogs may experience stronger and longer effects of acepromazine than normal and require lower doses or more careful monitoring when using it.
How Much Acepromazine Should you Give your Dog And How Often?
The dosage and frequency of acepromazine depend on several factors, such as:
- The weight and age of your do
- The reason for using acepromazine
- The reason for using acepromazine
- The breed and sensitivity of your dog
- The health status and medical history of your dog
- The other medications or supplements that your dog is taking
The general dosage range of oral acepromazine for dogs is 0.25 to 1 mg per pound of body weight, depending on the desired level of sedation. For injection, the dosage may be slightly higher. However, this is only a guideline and the exact dose and frequency should be determined by your veterinarian based on your dog’s individual needs
Here is a table that shows some examples of acepromazine dosages for dogs of different weights:
|Dog’s weight (lbs)||Acepromazine dosage (tablet)|
|10||1/2 tablet of 10 mg|
|20||1 tablet of 10 mg|
|30||1 and 1/2 tablets of 10 mg|
|40||1 tablet of 25 mg|
|60||1 and 1/2 tablets of 25 mg|
|80||2 tablets of 25 mg|
Is Acepromazine safe for dogs?
Acepromazine can be safe when used appropriately and under the guidance of a veterinarian. However, it should only be administered by a professional, as the dosage and potential side effects can vary based on a dog’s weight, health condition, and other factors.
What are the signs of Acepromazine overdose in dogs?
Symptoms of Acepromazine overdose can include extreme sedation, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, lethargy, loss of coordination, seizures, and even coma. If you suspect an overdose, contact your veterinarian immediately.
What should I do if my dog ingests too much Acepromazine?
If you suspect your dog has ingested an excessive amount of Acepromazine, contact your veterinarian or the nearest animal emergency clinic right away. They will provide guidance on the next steps to take based on your dog’s condition.
Can I administer Acepromazine to my dog without a veterinarian’s prescription?
No, Acepromazine is a prescription medication and should only be used under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Self-medicating or administering medication without proper guidance can be dangerous and harmful to your dog’s health.
In conclusion, it is crucial to approach the use of Acepromazine in dogs with caution and under the guidance of a veterinarian. While Acepromazine can be an effective sedative and tranquilizer, it can also be dangerous if used improperly or in excessive amounts.
Determining the appropriate dosage for your dog based on their weight, breed, and overall health is essential to prevent potential harm. If you suspect an overdose or observe any concerning symptoms, seek immediate veterinary attention.
Remember, there are alternative medications and behavioral techniques available that can help calm dogs without the risks associated with Acepromazine. Prioritize your dog’s safety and well-being by consulting with a professional to determine the best approach for your furry companion.