Acepromazine

Background

Acepromazine is mostly used as a tranquilizer. Strong anti-nausea properties make this medication an excellent choice for travelling pets that are prone to both excessive restlessness and motion sickness.
Acepromazine also can stabilize the rhythm of the heart in certain situations. This is especially helpful for highly sensitive patients who get so frightened they can actually suffer a “heart attack” from fear. Acepromazine not only allays the fear through tranquilization but also helps keeps the heart rhythm stable.
There is some controversy about the use of this medication in situations that stimulate a panic reaction (thunderstorms, fireworks, etc.) While Acepromazine makes patients drowsy, some veterinary behavioural specialists believe that it heightens the perception of loud noises. In summary, Acepromazine is used for tranquilization, motion sickness, and alleviating fear.

Side Effects

      • Acepromazine is a long-lasting tranquilizer. It should be expected to last 6 to 8 hours.
      • In extremely rare instances, some pets exhibit aggressive behaviour as a reaction to Acepromazine.
      • Dogs and cats on Acepromazine typically bring up their third eyelids. There are no negative effects to when this third eyelid is seen, but it is helpful for pet owners to recognize this normal change in appearance of the pet’s eyes.

Interactions with other Drugs

Acepromazine should not be used with organophosphate insecticides. This type of insecticide might be present in flea collars and in outdoor flea treatment products. Please notify your veterinarian if your pet is on such flea products.

Cautions and Concerns

      • Acepromazine should not be used in patients with known liver disease. Acepromazine is removed from the body by the liver and if the liver is not working, tranquilization can be markedly prolonged.
      • Sight hounds such as greyhounds, whippets, salukis, wolfhounds, etc. are sensitive to the effects of Acepromazine. A different medication may be a better choice.

Veterinarian’s Comment

      • While Acepromazine may be helpful for short-term anxiety, we recommend Clomipramine (Clomicalm) for most dogs with noise phobias during Halloween and firecracker season. Treatment should be initiated a few days prior to firecracker season.