Comparison of the sedative effects of intranasal or intramuscular dexmedetomidine at low doses in healthy dogs: a randomized clinical trial
Lopez-Ramis, V., Canfran, S. and Gomez de Segura, I.A. (2022) Comparison of the sedative effects of intranasal or intramuscular dexmedetomidine at low doses in healthy dogs: a randomized clinical trial. Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia.
The aim of this prospective, randomised, blinded clinical trial was to compare the sedative effects of dexmedetomidine administered either intranasally or intramuscularly in healthy dogs.
Sixteen client-owned dogs scheduled for elective procedures were enrolled in the study. Exclusion criteria included brachycephalic dogs, aggressive dogs or dogs weighing < 5 kg or aged < 6 months. The dogs were then randomly allocated to one of two groups to be administered either dexmedetomidine (5 µg kg-1) intramuscularly (IM group) or intranasally (IN group). Each dog also received an equivalent volume of saline by the other route. Intranasal administration used a Mucosal Atomization Device (MAD Nasal 300) to administer the solution into one of the dog’s nostrils, with the dog’s head elevated at 30-40ᵒ for one minute after administration. In the IM group, a 25 mm needle was used to inject the drug into the dog’s epaxial muscles.
Another investigator, blinded to whether saline or dexmedetomidine was administered IN or IM, assessed each dog for ease of drug administration, level of sedation, physiological variables, and mechanical nociceptive thresholds (MNTs) at baseline and subsequently every five minutes for 45 minutes. Response to IV catheter placement 20 minutes after dexmedetomidine was also recorded.
No adverse effects from dexmedetomidine were observed from either group and there were no differences between the groups for onset of sedation, MNT values, physiological variables, or response to IV catheter placement. All dogs tolerated intranasal administration with the ease of performing the intranasal route scored as easy or very easy.
Limitations of the study are the small sample size, the short observation period, which meant that the duration of sedation could not be evaluated, and that drug doses were not adjusted to the individual nasal conformation of different breeds of dogs.
This study demonstrated that a low dose of dexmedetomidine administered to dogs intranasally provided comparable pre-anaesthetic sedation to intramuscular administration in healthy dogs. Future studies are required to compare different doses of dexmedetomidine administered via the intranasal route in different situations and in brachycephalic dogs.
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