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Objective—To quantitate the dose- and time-related effects of IV administration of xylazine and detomidine on urine characteristics in horses deprived of feed and water.

Animals—6 horses.

Procedure—Feed and water were withheld for 24 hours followed by IV administration of saline (0.9% NaCl) solution, xylazine (0.5 or 1.0 mg/kg), or detomidine (0.03 mg/kg). Horses were treated 4 times, each time with a different protocol. Following treatment, urine and blood samples were obtained at 15, 30, 60, 120, and 180 minutes. Blood samples were analyzed for PCV and serum concentrations of total plasma solids, sodium, and potassium. Urine samples were analyzed for pH and concentrations of glucose, proteins, sodium, and potassium.

Results—Baseline (before treatment) urine flow was 0.30 ± 0.03 mL/kg/h and did not significantly change after treatment with saline solution and low-dose xylazine but transiently increased by 1 hour after treatment with high-dose xylazine or detomidine. Total urine output at 2 hours following treatment was 312 ± 101 mL versus 4,845 ± 272 mL for saline solution and detomidine, respectively. Absolute values of urine concentrations of sodium and potassium also variably increased following xylazine and detomidine administration.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Xylazine and detomidine administration in horses deprived of feed and water causes transient increases in urine volume and loss of sodium and potassium. Increase in urine flow is directly related to dose and type of α2-adrenergic receptor agonist. Dehydration in horses may be exacerbated by concurrent administration of α2-adrenergic receptor agonists. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1342–1346)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research