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Effects of acepromazine on the incidence of vomiting associated with opioid administration in dogs


Dr Alexander Valverde, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA. E-mail:


Objective  To evaluate the anti-emetic properties of acepromazine in dogs receiving opioids as pre-anesthetic medication.

Study design  Randomized prospective clinical study.

Animals  One hundred and sixteen dogs (ASA I or II), admitted for elective surgical procedures. The dogs were a mixed population of males and females, purebreds and mixed breeds, 0.25–13.4 years of age, weighing 1.8–57.7 kg.

Methods  A prospective clinical trial in which the dogs were randomly assigned to one of three groups. All groups received acepromazine (0.05 mg kg−1 intramuscularly (IM)). Group I received acepromazine 15 minutes prior to opioid administration. Group II received acepromazine in combination with the opioid. Group III received acepromazine 15 minutes after opioid administration. One of three different opioids was administered IM to each dog: morphine sulfate at 0.5 mg kg−1; hydromorphone hydrochloride at 0.1 mg kg−1; or oxymorphone hydrochloride at 0.075 mg kg−1.

Results  Dogs receiving acepromazine before the opioid (group I) had a significantly lower incidence of vomiting (18%) than dogs in groups II (45%) and III (55%). The degree of sedation was significantly lower in the dogs receiving the combination of acepromazine and the opioid (group II) than in dogs receiving the opioid as the first drug (group III).

Conclusions and clinical relevance  Acepromazine administered 15 minutes before the opioid lowers the incidence of vomiting induced by opioids.

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