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Clinical Evaluation of Medetomidine, a Novel Sedative and Analgesic Drug for Dogs and Cats

Klinisk evaluering av medetomidin, ett nytt sedativum och anaigetikum för hundar och katter


Medetomidine, a potent α2-adrenoceptor agonist, was investigated in open, multicenter clinical trials with patients of various canine and feline breeds (1736 dogs and 678 cats). The purpose of the study was to find an optimal dose of medetomidine for sedation and analgesia in clinical practice and to study how well the intended procedure could be performed under the influence of the drug.

The mean dose (i.m.) of medetomidine used for examinations, clinical procedures and minor surgical interventions was 40 μg/kg, and for radiography 30 μg/kg. In cats the dose was 80-110 μg/kg. On the doses chosen, almost all animals were recumbent and 72% of the dogs and 85% of the cats were in a slight anaesthetic stage, unable to rise. The evaluation of the overall suitability of medetomidine (% of cases) in different indications was »very satisfactory« or »satisfactory« in 95% of dogs and 81-96% of cats.

Side effects reported were limited almost exclusively to vomiting and muscle jerking in dogs (12% and 0.5% of the cases) and to vomiting in cats (65%). Medetomidine seems to suffice for pharmacological restraint of dogs and cats. The concomitant use of medetomidine (80-100 μg/kg) and ketamine (7 mg/kg) in cats (n = 295) provided a good anaesthesia (20-40 min). The recovery was smooth. The present study shows that medetomidine provides an effective level of sedation and analgesia for clinical use.


Medetomidin, en effektiv α2-adrenoceptor agonist, studerades i öppna, multicent rala kliniska studier med olika hund- och kattraser (1736 hundar och 678 katter) som patienter. Studiens ändamål var att få reda på medetomidins optimala dos för sedering och analgesi i klinisk användning och att utreda hur bra den ämnade undersökningen kunde utföras under påverkan av läkemedlet.

Medetomidins medeldosering (i.m.) vid undersökningar, kliniska procedurer och små kirurgiska ingrepp var 40 μg/kg, och vid radiografi 30 μg/kg. Hos katt var dosen 80–110 μg/kg. Med de valda doserna var nästan alla djur i liggande ställning, och 72% av hundarna och 85% av katterna var under mild anestesi och kunde inte stiga upp. Medetomidins allmänna lämplighet i olika indikationer (% av fall) evaluerades som »mycket lämplig« eller »lämplig« i 95% av hundarna och 80–96% av katterna.

Rapporterade biverkningar bestod i allmänhet endast av uppkastningar och muskelkramper (12% och 0,5% av fallen) samt av uppkastningar hos katt (65%). Medetomidin verkar vara en lämplig farmakologisk kontroll hos hund och katt. Medetomidin (80–100 μg/kg) i kombination med ketamin (7 mg/kg) åstadkom hos katter (n = 295) en lämplig anestesi (20–40 min). Återhämtningen skedde lugnt. Denna studie visar att medetomidin åstadkommer en effektiv nivå av sedation och analgesi vid kliniskt bruk.


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The author thanks the Finnish group of clinicians for gathering the clinical material: P. Axelson, I. Happonen, T. & T. Illukka, M. Jaakkola, H. Jalanka, J. Jussila, O. Laitinen, J. Mårtenson, H. Nurmi, L. Palmu, T. Palolahti, M. Roos, M. Räihä, E. Sarkiala, K. Sittnikow, K. Skutnabb, T. Talvio, T.-R. Vuorikoski, E. Westermarck.

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Vähä-Vahe, T. Clinical Evaluation of Medetomidine, a Novel Sedative and Analgesic Drug for Dogs and Cats. Acta Vet Scand 30, 267–273 (1989).

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  • sedation
  • analgesia
  • chemical restraint
  • ketamine