Articles written by Wendy Wallner, DVM
There is one drug used in anaesthetic protocols that should not
be used in the boxer. That drug is Acepromazine, a tranquilliser, that is often
used as a preanesthetic agent. In the boxer it tends to cause a problem called
first degree heart block, a potentially serious arrhythmia of the heart. It also
causes a profound hypotension (severe lowering of the blood pressure) in many boxers that are given the drug. Recently on the Veterinary Information
Network, a computer network for practicing veterinarians, an announcement was placed in the cardiology section entitled "Acepromazine and Boxers." This described several adverse reactions to the drug in a very short time span at a Veterinary Teaching Hospital. All the adverse reactions were in boxers. The reactions included collapse, respiratory arrest and profound bradycardia (slow heart rate, less than 60 beats per minute). The announcement suggested that acepromazine should not be used in dogs of the boxer breed because of a breed related sensitivity to the drug.
This drug is the most commonly prescribed tranquilliser in veterinary medicine. It is also used orally and is prescribed for owners who want to tranquillise their dogs for air travel. I would strongly recommend that boxer owners avoid the use of this drug, especially when the dog will be unattended and/or unable to receive emergency medical care if it is needed.
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