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  • Author or Editor: Stephanie Borns-Weil x
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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association



To evaluate sedative and behavioral effects of a client-administered preappointment protocol with PO gabapentin and melatonin and oral-transmucosal acepromazine (GMA protocol).


45 client-owned dogs between 1 and 12 years old that underwent standardize examinations between February and August 2021.


In this clinical trial, dogs with a history of anxiety, fearfulness, and/or aggression during hospital visits were assessed and videotaped before (baseline) and after administration of the GMA protocol. For the second visit, owners administered PO gabapentin (20 to 25 mg/kg) in the evening prior to the next visit and PO gabapentin (20 to 25 mg/kg), PO melatonin (3 to 5 mg/dog), and oral-transmucosal acepromazine (0.05 mg/kg) 90 to 120 minutes prior to the second appointment. Examinations were performed, and behavioral stress and sedation levels were evaluated with semiquantitative rating scales. Randomized videos were analyzed, and a paired t test was used to compare stress and sedation scores between baseline and GMA. A Pearson correlation coefficient was used to evaluate the effect of age on the scores.


Stress scores were significantly lower after the GMA protocol, and sedation scores were significantly higher when compared to baseline (21.84 vs 27.11 and 1.39 vs 0.68, respectively). A significant correlation between increasing age and lower stress scores post-GMA and higher sedation scores post-GMA were observed.


Preappointment administration of the GMA protocol reduced signs of stress, fear, and fear-based aggression during hospital visits and provided sedation in this dog population. This protocol could represent an adjunct tool for veterinarians to improve quality of care and reduce animal-related injury.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association