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Assessment of dexmedetomidine and other agents for emesis induction in cats: 43 cases (2009–2014)

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  • 1 Section of Critical Care, Department of Clinical Studies-Philadelphia, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
  • | 2 Section of Critical Care, Department of Clinical Studies-Philadelphia, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Abstract

Objective—To compare the use of dexmedetomidine hydrochloride, xylazine hydrochloride, and hydrogen peroxide for emesis induction in cats.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—43 client-owned cats for which emesis induction was attempted because of known or suspected toxicant ingestion or recent ingestion of a string foreign body.

Procedures—Data collected from the cats’ medical records included type, dose, and route of administration of emetic agent; outcome of attempted emesis induction; time until emesis or postemesis administration of a reversal agent (to counter sedative effects of the emetic agent); and adverse events.

Results—Emesis induction was attempted by oral administration of hydrogen peroxide (n = 3) or IM or IV administration of xylazine (25 [including 1 cat that had already received hydrogen peroxide]) or dexmedetomidine (16). No cat that received hydrogen peroxide vomited. Emesis was induced in 11 of 25 xylazine-treated cats and in 13 of 16 dexmedetomidine-treated cats. Dexmedetomidine was more likely to cause vomiting than xylazine (OR, 5.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 36). The median dose of dexmedetomidine that caused emesis was 7. 0 μg/kg (3.2 μg/lb; range, 0.96 to 10.0 μg/kg [0.44 to 4.55 μg/lb]). The elapsed time until emesis or postemesis reversal agent administration was recorded for 5 xylazine-treated cats (median interval, 10 minutes [range, 5 to 175 minutes]) and 10 dexmedetomidine-treated cats (median interval, 5 minutes [range, 1 to 12 minutes]). Sedation was the only adverse effect, occurring in 2 xylazine-treated cats and 1 dexmedetomidine-treated cat.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that dexmedetomidine can be used successfully to induce emesis in cats.

Abstract

Objective—To compare the use of dexmedetomidine hydrochloride, xylazine hydrochloride, and hydrogen peroxide for emesis induction in cats.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—43 client-owned cats for which emesis induction was attempted because of known or suspected toxicant ingestion or recent ingestion of a string foreign body.

Procedures—Data collected from the cats’ medical records included type, dose, and route of administration of emetic agent; outcome of attempted emesis induction; time until emesis or postemesis administration of a reversal agent (to counter sedative effects of the emetic agent); and adverse events.

Results—Emesis induction was attempted by oral administration of hydrogen peroxide (n = 3) or IM or IV administration of xylazine (25 [including 1 cat that had already received hydrogen peroxide]) or dexmedetomidine (16). No cat that received hydrogen peroxide vomited. Emesis was induced in 11 of 25 xylazine-treated cats and in 13 of 16 dexmedetomidine-treated cats. Dexmedetomidine was more likely to cause vomiting than xylazine (OR, 5.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.1 to 36). The median dose of dexmedetomidine that caused emesis was 7. 0 μg/kg (3.2 μg/lb; range, 0.96 to 10.0 μg/kg [0.44 to 4.55 μg/lb]). The elapsed time until emesis or postemesis reversal agent administration was recorded for 5 xylazine-treated cats (median interval, 10 minutes [range, 5 to 175 minutes]) and 10 dexmedetomidine-treated cats (median interval, 5 minutes [range, 1 to 12 minutes]). Sedation was the only adverse effect, occurring in 2 xylazine-treated cats and 1 dexmedetomidine-treated cat.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that dexmedetomidine can be used successfully to induce emesis in cats.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Thawley's present address is Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

Address correspondence to Dr. Thawley (vthawley@vet.upenn.edu).