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Evaluation and comparison of xylazine hydrochloride and dexmedetomidine hydrochloride for the induction of emesis in cats: 47 cases (2007–2013)

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  • 1 Veterinary Specialty Hospital of San Diego, 10435 Sorrento Valley Rd, San Diego, CA 92121.
  • | 2 Veterinary Specialty Hospital of San Diego, 10435 Sorrento Valley Rd, San Diego, CA 92121.
  • | 3 Veterinary Specialty Hospital of San Diego, 10435 Sorrento Valley Rd, San Diego, CA 92121.
  • | 4 Veterinary Specialty Hospital of San Diego, 10435 Sorrento Valley Rd, San Diego, CA 92121.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To evaluate and compare IM administration of xylazine hydrochloride and dexmedetomidine hydrochloride for the induction of emesis in cats.

DESIGN Retrospective case series.

ANIMALS 47 cats with a history of suspected ingestion of a toxic substance or foreign material between June 2007 and June 2013.

PROCEDURES Data collected for analysis from the medical records included signalment, drug dose and route of administration, whether a repeated dose of the emetic agent was administered, and outcome (emesis, yes or no).

RESULTS Cats in the 2 treatment groups did not differ with regard to age, sex, or breed distribution. The range of doses of xylazine administered IM was 0.36 to 0.64 mg/kg (0.16 to 0.29 mg/lb). The range of doses of dexmedetomidine administered IM was 6 to 18 μg/kg (2.7 to 8.2 μg/lb). A repeated dose of xylazine or dexmedetomidine was given to 3 and 1 cats, respectively. Emesis was successfully induced in 24 of the 47 (51.1%) cats. Nine of the 21 (43%) cats that received xylazine vomited and 15 of the 26 (58%) cats that received dexmedetomidine vomited. Percentage of cats that vomited after either drug administration did not differ significantly.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Following IM administration in cats, xylazine and dexmedetomidine were similarly effective for induction of emesis, indicating that dexmedetomidine is a comparable alternative to xylazine for this purpose. Prospective studies are needed to determine the optimal IM dose of dexmedetomidine for induction of emesis in cats.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Willey (jennifer.willey@vshsd.com).