Objective—To evaluate degree of sedation and cardiovascular, respiratory, acid-base excess, and electrolyte variables in response to IM administration of dexmedetomidine or dexmedetomidine with atropine.
Design—Randomized crossover study.
Animals—5 healthy 1- to 2-year-old sexually intact male Treeing Walker Coonhounds.
Procedures—Dogs were instrumented with catheters placed in the dorsal pedal artery and lateral saphenous vein. All dogs received dexmedetomidine (10 μg/kg [4.5 μg/lb], IM) or dexmedetomidine with atropine (0.02 mg/kg [0.009 mg/lb], IM). Variables were measured at baseline (time 0) and 5, 15, 30, and 60 minutes after drug administration.
Results—In all dogs, lithium dilution cardiac output decreased from a mean ± SD baseline value of 5.07 ± 1.0 L/min to 2.1 ± 0.9 L/min. Cardiac output was not different between dexmedetomidine group dogs and dexmedetomidine-atropine group dogs. Mean arterial pressure increased from baseline in both groups but was significantly higher in dexmedetomidine-atropine group dogs, compared with dexmedetomidine group dogs. Heart rate in dexmedetomidine group dogs decreased from 110 ± 14.2 beats/min to 49.4 ± 10.4 beats/min by 15 minutes. No differences were seen in blood gas values, electrolyte concentration, or hemoglobin values over time or between groups. Arrhythmias were detected in dexmedetomidine-atropine group dogs and included atrioventricular block, ventricular premature contractions, and ventricular bigeminy.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Administration of atropine at 0.02 mg/kg, IM, with dexmedetomidine at 10 μg/kg, IM, resulted in an increase in mean arterial blood pressure and heart rate; deleterious cardiac arrhythmias were also observed. Use of atropine with dexmedetomidine is not recommended in dogs.