Acepromazine

Acepromazine for Dogs | Wag!

Most common conditions

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Most common conditions

Acepromazine for Dogs | Wag!

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Acepromazine for dogs is a tranquilizer and sedative that is commonly used as a pre-anesthetic. It can also be used to control agitated animals during vet visits, procedures, and grooming, and to manage stress, anxiety, and motion sickness. 

Widely used in veterinary medicine, this effective tranquilizer is available as a tablet or as an injection. Keep reading for more information on the dosage, efficacy, and potential side effects of acepromazine for dogs.

Dosage

Acepromazine for dogs is commonly available in 10 mg and 25 mg tablets, as well as in an injectable solution.

Recommended dosage amounts vary from dog to dog and depending on the condition being treated. Your veterinarian will advise you on the appropriate amount to give your pet. Never give double doses.

Dosage instructions

Administer acepromazine according to your veterinarian’s instructions.  When given orally, this medication can be given with or without food. It’s typically administered 45 minutes to 1 hour before needed. Your pet’s clinical signs should then improve within 1 to 2 hours.

Acepromazine is also short-lived, so your pet should stop feeling the effects of the drug within 24 hours.

Efficacy

Commonly known as “Ace”, acepromazine for dogs is used to sedate pets before surgery or stressful events. It can also prevent vomiting after surgery and before travel in animals that suffer from motion sickness.

While researchers don’t know exactly how acepromazine works, it’s thought to block dopamine receptors in the brain. The drug is classified as a phenothiazine neuroleptic.

Acepromazine also has anti-emetic properties, having been proven to significantly lower the chances of opioid-induced vomiting when given 15 minutes before the opioid.

In one study of dogs undergoing ovariohysterectomy, dogs who received acepromazine were twice as likely to develop hypotension than dogs who received dexmedetomidine. However, the odds of developing bradycardia were greater for dogs treated with dexmedetomidine instead of acepromazine.

Finally, while there’s a belief that acepromazine may be linked to seizures in dogs with seizure disorders, studies have shown that there’s no evidence to support this.

Active ingredients in acepromazine

  • Acepromazine maleate

Side effects

Acepromazine for dogs can potentially cause the following side effects:

  • Low blood pressure

  • Decreased respiratory rate

  • Bradycardia (slow heart rate)

  • Cardiovascular collapse

  • Aggressiveness

  • Hyperactivity

  • Lack of coordination

  • Discolored urine

  • Appearance of the third eyelid

  • Pain and swelling around the injection site (if given in injectable form)

  • Allergic reaction (difficulty breathing, swelling around the face, hives)

Consult your veterinarian if your dog shows any adverse side effects of acepromazine treatment.

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Considerations

Just like any drug, there are certain risks associated with taking acepromazine. Not only does it have the potential to interact with other drugs, but this medication also may not be safe to give to dogs with certain medical conditions.

Drug interactions

Acepromazine for dogs can interact with the following drugs:

  • Organophosphate pesticides (used in some flea control products)

  • Antacids

  • Heart medications (such as quinidine)

  • Anti-nausea medications (metaclopramide)

  • Opiates

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

  • Cisapride

  • Antibiotics (such as metronidazole)

There may also be other medications not listed here that acepromazine interacts with, so be sure to inform your veterinarian of all drugs your dog is currently taking.

Allergic reactions and sensitivity

Never give acepromazine to any dog with an allergy to this medication or other phenothiazine drugs. Dogs with the following health issues should not use acepromazine:

  • Low blood pressure

  • Shock

  • Severe heart disease

  • Tetanus

  • Pesticide poisoning

Use acepromazine for dogs with caution in: 

Make sure your vet knows your pet’s full medical history and health status before prescribing acepromazine.

Finally, some breeds may be more prone to the effects of acepromazine. Use acepromazine with caution in Boxers, Pugs, Pekingese, and other brachycephalic breeds. Giant breeds and Greyhounds may be more susceptible to the sedative effects of acepromazine. Dogs with a specific genetic mutation known as MDR1 (including Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Shetland Sheepdogs) will also usually need to be given a reduced dosage.

Frequently asked questions

How should acepromazine tablets be stored?

Store acepromazine tablets in a sealed container at room temperature. Keep them away from direct sunlight and out of reach of children.

What should I do if I forget to give a dose of acepromazine to my dog?

Acepromazine is typically given once rather than in line with a regular dosage schedule. However, you should consult your veterinarian on what to do if you miss a dose of this medication.

What should I do if my dog has an adverse reaction or an overdose?

Seek veterinary attention immediately or contact an emergency veterinary medical facility.

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