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Clinical particulars
Target species
Horse, cattle.
Indications for use
For the sedation and slight analgesia of horses and cattle, to facilitate physical examinations and treatments, such as minor surgical interventions. Detomidine can be used for:
- Examinations (e.g. endoscopia, rectal and gynaecological examinations, X-rays).
- Minor surgical procedures (e.g. treatment of wounds, dental treatment, tendon treatment, excision of skin tumours, teat treatment).
- Before treatment and medication (e.g. stomach tube, horse shoeing).
For premedication prior to administration of injection or inhalation anaesthetics.
Do not use in animals with cardiac abnormalities or respiratory diseases.
Do not use in animals with liver insufficiency or renal failure.
Do not use in animals with general health problems (e.g. diabetes mellitus, dehydrated animals, shock or any other extraordinary stress conditions).
Do not use in combination with butorphanol in horses suffering from colic.
See also Use during pregnancy and lactation and Interactions.
Special precautions for use in animals
As sedation begins, especially horses may start to sway and lower the head rapidly while they remain standing. Cattle and especially young cattle will try to lie down. To prevent injuries the location should therefore be chosen carefully. To avoid aspiration of feed or saliva, cattle should be maintained in sternal recumbency following treatment and head and neck of recumbent cattle should be lowered. Especially for horses usual precautionary measures should be taken to prevent self-injury. Detomidine should be prescribed with caution in horses which present with signs of colic or impaction.
Animals suffering from shock or liver or kidney disease should only be treated according to the benefit/risk assessment by the responsible veterinarian.
Detomidine/butorphanol combination should not be used in horses with a history of liver disease or cardiac irregularities.
It is recommended that feed should be withheld for at least 12 hours prior to anaesthesia.
Water or food should not be offered to treated animals until the drug effect has passed.
In painful procedures detomidine should be used only in combination with an analgesic or a local anaesthetic.
While waiting for sedation animals should remain in calm surroundings.
Special precautions to be taken by the persons administering the veterinary medicinal product to animals
In the case of accidental oral intake or self-injection, seek medical advice immediately and show the package insert to the physician but DO NOT DRIVE as sedation and changes in blood pressure may occur.
Avoid skin, eye or mucosal contact.
Wash the exposed skin immediately after exposure with large amounts of water.
Remove contaminated clothes that are in direct contact with skin.
In the case of accidental contact of the product with eyes, rinse abundantly with fresh water. If symptoms occur, seek the advice of a physician.
If pregnant women handle the product, special caution should be observed not to self-inject as uterine contractions and decreased foetal blood pressure may occur after accidental systemic exposure.
Advice to doctors: Detomidine is an α2-adrenoreceptor agonist. Symptoms after absorption may involve clinical effects including dose-dependent sedation, respiratory depression, bradycardia, hypotension, a dry mouth, and hyperglycaemia. Ventricular arrhythmias have also been reported. Respiratory and haemodynamic symptoms should be treated symptomatically.
Adverse reactions
Injection of detomidine may cause the following side effects:
- Bradycardia
- Transient hypo- and/or hypertension
- Respiratory depression, rarely hyperventilation
- Increase in blood glucose
- As with other sedatives, in rare cases paradoxical reactions (excitation) can develop
- Ataxia
- In horses: Cardiac arrhythmia, atrioventricular and sino-atrial block
- In cattle: Inhibition of rumen motility, tympania, paralysis of the tongue
At doses above 40 µg/kg body weight, the following symptoms can also be observed: sweating, pilo-erection and tremor of muscles, transient penis prolapse in stallions and geldings and mild, transient tympania of rumen and increased salivation in cattle.
In very rare cases horses may show mild symptoms of colic following administration of α2-sympathomimetics because substances of this class transiently inhibit the motility of the intestines.
A diuretic effect is usually observed within 45-60 minutes after treatment.
Use during pregnancy and lactation
Do not use this product during the last trimester of pregnancy. Use only according to the benefit/risk assessment by the responsible veterinarian during pregnancy.
Concurrent use of other sedatives only after consultation of the warnings and precautions of the product concerned.
Detomidine should not be used in combination with sympathomimetic amines such as adrenaline, dobutamine and ephedrine.
The concurrent use of certain potentiated sulphonamides may cause cardiac arrhythmia with fatal outcome. Do not use in combination with sulphonamides.
Detomidine in combination with other sedatives and anaesthetics should be used carefully because additive/synergistic effects may be possible. Where anaesthesia is induced with a combination of detomidine and ketamine, prior to maintenance with halothane, the effects of halothane may be delayed and care must be taken to avoid overdosage. When detomidine is used as a premedicant prior to general anaesthesia, the product may delay the onset of induction.
Amounts to be administered and administration route
For intravenous (IV) or intramuscular (IM) administration. The product should be injected slowly. Onset of effect is more rapid following intravenous administration.
Dosage µg/kg
Dosage ml/100 kg
Level of sedation
Commencement of effect (min)
Duration of effect (hrs)
When prolonged sedation and analgesia is required, doses of 40-80 µg/kg can be used. The duration of effect is up to 3 hours.
For combination with other products to intensify the sedation or for premedication prior to general anaesthesia, doses of 10-30 µg/kg can be used.
It is recommended to wait 15 minutes after the detomidine administration before starting the planned procedure.
The body weight of the animal to be treated should be determined as accurately as possible to avoid overdosing.
In the event of an accidental overdose, cardiac arrhythmias, hypotension, delayed recovery and profound CNS and respiratory depression may occur. Should the effects of detomidine become life-threatening, administration of an α2-adrenergic antagonist is recommended.
Withdrawal periods
Horse, cattle:
Meat and offal: 2 days
Milk: 12 hours