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To determine the effects of yohimbine and tolazoline on the cardiovascular, respiratory and sedative effects of xylazine, four horses were sedated with xylazine and treated with either yohimbine, tolazoline or saline. Xylazine was administered as an intravenous (i.v.) bolus (1.0 nig/kg) followed by a continuous infusion at the rate of 12 μg/kg/min. Heart rate, respiratory rate, mean arterial pressure, arterial blood gases, and the chin-to-floor distance were recorded throughout the experiment. After 60 min, either yohimbine or tolazoline was administered i.v. in incremental doses until reversal of sedation (defined as the return of the chin-to-floor distance to baseline values) was achieved. A control group in which a saline bolus was administered instead of an antagonist drug was included for comparison.

The average dose of yohimbine administered was 0.12 ± 0.02 (SEM) mg/kg. While the average dose of tolazoline was 7.5 ± 1.1 mg/kg. Both tolazoline and yohimbine antagonized the ventricular bradycardia and A-V conduction disturbances observed with xylazine administration. No change in mean arterial pressure was observed with xylazine or yohimbine administration, but tolazoline caused persistent mild systemic hypertension. There were no clinically significant changes in respiratory rate or arterial blood gas values with administration of either xylazine, yohimbine or tolazoline. The chin-to-floor distance decreased significantly with xylazine administration and increased significantly with administration of either yohimbine or tolazoline. In conclusion, both yohimbine and tolazoline successfully antagonized the cardiovascular and CNS depression associated with xylazine administration.