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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Pet Medications - Acepromazine

Some nervous or noise phobic dogs are prescribed Acepromazine. Although this drug has it’s place in veterinary medicine, as with all drugs (psychotropic or not), if a pet is not in an emergency situation, pet parents should do their own research in addition to discussions with their vet.

From the literature:
From Dog In Sight by Pamela Reid
” Acepromazine (Atravet) is sometimes recommended for thunderphobic dogs, but its anti anxiety effects are questionable and it can actually increase sensitivity to noises”
From Oh Behave!: Dogs from Pavlov to Premack to Pinker by Jean Donaldson
“Valium is a better choice than a drug such as acepromazine. This latter agent will affect the dog physically but not provide any anti-anxiety properties. This can actually result in a more stressed dog—the original noise is still perceived, but now his motor skills are impaired.”

From Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out: Training Crazy Dogs from Over the Top to Under Control by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
“It is thought also that acepromazine, often prescribed for noise phobias, actually increases sensitivity to noise, but that the animal simply cannot express its fear or reactions.”
“Some vets still use tranquilizers for anxiety or phobias, but this is decidedly not recommended. Ace is a dopamine antagonist and an anti-psychotic drug; giving it to dogs who are not psychotic (i.e., not schizophrenic, etc.) results in a loss of motor control. This appears to work well as a tranquilizer, but it makes the root problem worse. The animal is still just as afraid — but now is unable to act on his fears.”
“A woman told me her dog was afraid of storms, and they were using the prescribed acepromazine to control it. Even after eight years of “treatment,” the dog’s storm phobia had gotten progressively worse, and if they didn’t get the dose into the dog in time, the dog’s terror was extreme.”

“Patricia McConnell, Ph.D. took brain wave recordings of dogs on acepromazine and says, “Their brains were going a mile a minute.” So although a dog might appear sedated and calm, her state of mind might be something else entirely. Acepromazine can also cause blood pressure to lower and aggressive behavior to intensify. And there is anecdotal evidence that in Boxers, acepromazine can cause an arrhythmia of the heart, which can be fatal. Whatever your dog’s breed, use caution with this particular medication.”
“Acepromazine is a drug that is often prescribed by veterinarians for short-term fear situations. But as Dr. Karen Overall states, “Acepromazine is a dissociative anesthetic meaning that it scrambles perceptions. Ask yourself if a scrambling of perceptions will make an anxious dog or uncertain dog worse or better. It’s always worse, and we make many if not most dogs more sensitive to storms by using this drug. In part this is also because sensitivity to noise is heightened.”'

Also see this video by Dr Overall:

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