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PICO question

In dogs undergoing elective procedures does the use of medetomidine during premedication result in an increase in anaesthetic complication rates, when compared to acepromazine?


Clinical bottom line

Category of research question


The number and type of study designs reviewed

Four papers were critically reviewed, all of which were randomised controlled trials

Strength of evidence


Outcomes reported

There were some statistically significant differences between using medetomidine and acepromazine as premedications in the outcomes measured, but as the clinical parameters including blood pressure were still within acceptable clinical limits, the clinical benefits of these findings remain undetermined. There is also evidence to suggest that patients premedicated with medetomidine have less of a perioperative stress response than those receiving acepromazine, but in addition may have increased risk of cardiac conduction disturbances, but the clinical importance of these findings is also unknown


The overall findings showed that either drug can be used as a suitable premedication, but the differences in pain score postoperatively shown in one small study mean that due to its poor analgesic properties it is recommended when using acepromazine instead of medetomidine, that additional analgesia should be given to reduce postoperative pain for better animal welfare


How to apply this evidence in practice

The application of evidence into practice should take into account multiple factors, not limited to: individual clinical expertise, patient’s circumstances and owners’ values, country, location or clinic where you work, the individual case in front of you, the availability of therapies and resources.

Knowledge Summaries are a resource to help reinforce or inform decision making. They do not override the responsibility or judgement of the practitioner to do what is best for the animal in their care.


Open Access Peer Reviewed