Acepromazine for Dogs
Acepromazine is a prescription medication for dogs that acts as a tranquilizer and central nervous system depressant. It can be prescribed as a sedative, or to help with motion sickness, anxiety, vomiting or itching. This medicine is also given to prevent aggression in pets.
Other names for Acepromazine are PromAce for dogs, Acepro Tabs, and AceproJect. This drug can be given in tablet form or by injection.
The following are common reasons to prescribe this medication
- Anxiety going to veterinarian visits
- Visits to the dog groomer
- A dog with aggressive tendencies that needs handling by strangers
- Long distance travel to prevent vomiting
- A dog with a minor itch to ease the comfort level
How Acepromazine works
Acepromazine is a Dopamine antagonist. Dopamine is a type of hormone in the body that controls movement and emotions. Acepromazine, as a chemical antagonist, prevents actions caused by Dopamine. These actions in your dog could include aggression, fearful behavior, and excessive movement. This medication can suppress exhibition of both abnormal and normal behavior.
This medicine also seems to cause the dog’s brain not to be able to process messages in a normal way. This reaction is what causes the appearance of relaxation and sedation. Other major organs, like the heart, may work differently as well with the use of this medication.
Acepromazine side effects
The following are side effects your dog may experience. Contact your veterinarian at once if you notice any of these symptoms.
- Drop in blood pressure
- Circulatory collapse
- Drop in heart rate
- Heart failure
- Respiratory rate change
- Increase in sensitivity to noise
- Increased startle response
- Low body temperature
- High body temperature
- Muscle spasms
- Absent pulse
Another side effect can be the appearance of the third eyelid. It is especially common in older dogs. The third eyelid is the skin found at the inward corner of the eye. With Acepromazine, the eyelid may move to a position that is across the eye. You do not need to be alarmed by this. Just wait for the sedation effect of this medication to wear off. Then the eyelid should go to its normal position.
Other medications can be given with Acepromazine to decrease some side effects. For example, Atropine may be given to counteract the drop in blood pressure. Diazepam can be prescribed to control seizures if they occur.
Acepromazine has been known to interact with the following medicines.
- Medications used for diarrhea
- Phenobarbital (or other barbiturates)
- Clomipramine (or other tricyclic antidepressants)
- Atropine sulfate
- Phenytoin sodium
- Diazepam (and other central nervous system depressants)
Safety of Acepromazine
Take care in giving this medicine to your dog. Acepromazine slows the heart rate and decreases blood pressure. This medication also impairs motor function as well as self-regulatory function. It may also change how the digestive system works. Acepromazine has the added side effect of body temperature regulation problems.
There are some claims that this drug only suppresses movement and does not help with emotional stability. A peaceful appearance in your dog may not necessarily mean their mind is calm. Other methods of calming your dog may be needed.
Sick or older dogs
It is not recommended to use Acepromazine for an older or sick dog. If your veterinarian prescribes it, ask for any indications you should be aware of. Inform your veterinarian if your dog suffers from any of these difficulties.
Epileptic dogs – Acepromazine lowers the threshold for seizure-prone dogs. This medication increases the chance of seizure activity.
Elderly dogs – As a dog ages his organs work slower at breaking down medications such as Acepromazine. This could cause a prolonged effect of any side effects.
Dogs with heart disease – When a dog suffers from heart disease his heart has to work harder to raise or maintain blood pressure. Acepromazine lowers blood pressure. This effect could result in additional stress on the heart, worsening the problem.
Certain breeds are more sensitive to the side effects causing them to be more prominent. These breeds include
- Great Dane, Pyrenean mountain dog, and Newfoundland
- German or Australian Shepherd and other Collie breeds
- Terrier breeds
- Longhaired Whippets
- Silken Windhounds
- English, Old English, McNab, and Shetland Sheepdogs
This medication may have adverse effects in racing dogs, weakened pets, puppies, dogs with liver, kidney, or heart disease. Dogs with hypotension or dogs who are pregnant or nursing.
If you notice you missed giving a dose, give it as soon as possible within a reasonable time. If it is nearing the time for the next dose, skip the missed one. Then continue with the regularly scheduled treatment. Do not give your pet more than one dose at a time.
An overdose of Acepromazine is not a serious case in most dogs. Your dog may experience pulmonary edema, but that is possible to treat. Reports of overdoses list symptoms such as leaning to one side, extreme sedation, laying down or loss of coordination.
Alternatives for calming your dog
If you would like to use a different approach to calm your dog, you may try using Benadryl. Try removing the dog from any anxiety producing situation when possible. Observe how your pet responds to these methods.
Other approaches you can try include
- White noise – This can be from either a TV, radio or white noise machine.
- Anti-anxiety wraps – This device covers the dog and sometimes helps to calm them.
- Benzodiazepines –Diazepam or Alprazolam also reduce anxiety.
For many dogs Acepromazine could offer needed relief from anxiety or nervousness. This medicine can also stabilize heart rhythm which would be beneficial for some pets. However, some pets do not adequately respond to prescribed or over-the-counter medication. Others may have existing medical conditions that would interfere with usage of this drug. If you have any questions or concerns about Acepromazine, you can ask an Expert for information.