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OBJECTIVE To determine the temporal effects on tear flow measurements obtained by use of a Schirmer tear test (STT) I after IM administration of various doses of medetomidine or xylazine to healthy dogs.
ANIMALS 5 healthy purpose-bred male Beagles.
PROCEDURES Each dog received IM injections of 2.0 mL of physiologic saline (0.9% NaCl) solution (control treatment); 0.1% medetomidine hydrochloride (5, 10, 20, and 40 μg/kg), and 2.0% xylazine hydrochloride (0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 mg/kg). Treatments were injected into the semimembranosus muscles; there was at least a 1-week interval between successive injections. Order of treatments was determined via a randomized Latin square crossover design. The STT I was performed on both eyes before (baseline) and 0.25, 0.50, 0.75, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 24 hours after each injection.
RESULTS STT I values decreased significantly within 45 minutes after injection of medetomidine or xylazine, which was followed by gradual recovery. The lowest mean STT I value was < 10 mm/min for all sedation treatments, except when dogs received 5 μg of medetomidine/kg. Linear regression of the area under the curve for the 8 hours after administration yielded significant effects for all sedation treatments.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE IM administration of medetomidine or xylazine to dogs reduced tear flow in a dose-related manner. Artificial tear solution or ophthalmic ointment should be used to protect the ocular surface when these drugs are administered to dogs.