Acepromazine & Performance

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#1
In January, we're trekking 11 hours to the Michigan Winter Dog Classic. Garp will be dock diving and doing Barn Hunt all 4 days. He may also do a Rally run or 2. I will be asking a LOT of him those 4 days. He has the stamina for it.

We're traveling in a friend's dog-mobile, with 2 other dogs and 2 other people. He's a vocal, somewhat high strung dog and the last time we travelled in this setup, he shrieked and whined for 2 hours nonstop. He wasn't especially upset after being taken out of the crate after the ride, and wasn't exhibiting many signs of stress immediately after either.

Since then, we've been doing a lot of behavior modification exercises. It's a smaller crate than he's used to riding in, and there are other dogs in the car so we've been working with those parameters a bit. However.... I've also been talking with my vet about sedating for the ride. She thinks a minimal dose Ace would be the be best option, but right now, our main concern is performance the following days. I'm also aware of how acepromazine works in the body and how it doesn't mediate the emotional response.

The half life in dogs is ~15 hours, so the drug would still be in his system the next day when it's time to compete. My primary concern is how it might affect his reaction time, etc. Obviously, we would be doing at least one test dose well before the trip if we decide to go that direction.

Does anybody here have any experience with working a dog after sedation?
 

Beanie

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#2
I do, actually... I was at an agility trial last year and had to take Payton to the emergency vet for a ruptured ear drum. They gave him ace sub-q to do his exam at the vet, and then some ace tablets for the next few days to try and stop him shaking his head/potentially doing further damage.

Outside of the ring he was able to settle down, lay down, and actually sleep while pre-ace he was pacing, whining, and shaking his head non-stop, unable to sleep. Inside the ring you could basically tell no difference between drugged Payton and normal Payton. He ran fast, barked loud, and IIRC still didn't do his weaves or contacts. =P

That said Payton is not exactly what one might call, erm, a normal dog. So take our experience with the perspective of it being Payton in question. However I think so long as you do a trial run beforehand and get an idea for how he will feel and deal with it, you should be able to get an idea of how he'll be able to perform.
 

Southpaw

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Cajun is completely drugged and can hardly stand up without stumbling for a good 4-8 hours after she gets a tiny dose of Ace (12.5mg). I wouldn't worry about anything the next day, for her... but definitely if she gets ace, the rest of the day is shot for her and she's doing nothing but sleeping.
 

BostonBanker

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Out of curiosity, do any dog sport venues have drug rules? It is such a huge thing in horse sports, I am suddenly realizing how weird it is that I have never heard anything about it in dogs.
 

Beanie

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Cajun is completely drugged and can hardly stand up without stumbling for a good 4-8 hours after she gets a tiny dose of Ace (12.5mg). I wouldn't worry about anything the next day, for her... but definitely if she gets ace, the rest of the day is shot for her and she's doing nothing but sleeping.
Ooh this is a good point so for more data - I believe it was 2AM when I took Payton to the e-vet, we were back at the hotel around 3AM. We got back up and were at the venue at 9AM, I don't think he ran until 10AM or so... 7-8 hours? Something like that? He did not seem to have any real physical effects right after being sedated (and in fact ran into the room and tried to tackle me as soon as he was awake and they brought him up) BUT we did go right to the hotel and he went straight into his crate to sleep right after.

Also now that I think of it, Payton also seems to be pretty ummm non-sensitive to sedation, whatever the technical term for that is. He was sedated for his OFA x-rays and was apparently still laying on his back getting x-rays done while barking at a dog who was barking in the back... came out of that like nothing had even happened. Both Auggie and Georgie post-OFA were stumbling, snuggley, and sleepy acting.

Out of curiosity, do any dog sport venues have drug rules? It is such a huge thing in horse sports, I am suddenly realizing how weird it is that I have never heard anything about it in dogs.
Nothing in AKC rules about it - your dog can't have anything "attached" to it for medical purposes, but nothing about meds. I know plenty of people who use things like herbal calming meds (Rescue Remedy, et cetera) but I can't say I know anybody who legit uses Rx drugs so their dog can compete... or if they do, they certainly don't talk about it openly.
 
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Thanks guys! Some interesting things to consider...

By the waaaaayyyy, we'll be leaving the day before around 8 or 9am, getting to the hotel around 9 or 10pm, and then we have our first event the next morning at 9:30am.
 

BostonBanker

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Nothing in AKC rules about it - your dog can't have anything "attached" to it for medical purposes, but nothing about meds. I know plenty of people who use things like herbal calming meds (Rescue Remedy, et cetera) but I can't say I know anybody who legit uses Rx drugs so their dog can compete... or if they do, they certainly don't talk about it openly.
Yeah, I definitely know a lot of people who use herbal stuff (which, if you follow the rules as they are written, is actually illegal with horses, although a lot of people use them since they can't be tested for). I actually just saw a blog post the other day on the number of agility dogs that run injured/in pain, and that makes me wonder as well. Not so much that I think people are using stuff, but I wonder if/when it will trickle over from horse sports - or if not, why the difference? Less money involved, for sure. For the better, I think.
 

stardogs

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Why not use something like Xanax? Less concern about effects, seems to wear off in 12 hours, and would address the traveling concerns he has, too.
 
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With that length of time it should be worn off, but every dog is different.

My preference in general is for something like alprazolam (xanax) or trazodone, because as you've already said acepromazine is essentially a tranquilizer with no anti-anxiety effects. It doesn't really make them FEEL better, they just can't do as much about it.
 

elegy

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I would lean toward something like Xanax as well. Dogs have such dramatically varying responses to Ace and it doesn't do anything to address anxiety. Xanax will be calming but not so sedating.

I've had both Luce and Steve on Ace for crate resting purposes and it really didn't do anything useful at all, even at high doses. Other dogs have a tiny dose and are zonked for ages. And the response you get during your test run may not match the result you get during the actual stressful experience.
 

PWCorgi

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Out of curiosity, do any dog sport venues have drug rules? It is such a huge thing in horse sports, I am suddenly realizing how weird it is that I have never heard anything about it in dogs.
Fromo is on Prozac, I doubt he could compete without it, considering he can barely exist without it. :p I have never seen anything against it, and it has never really crossed my mind to look before entering him. Though we have only done WCRL so far, and of all venues I think they would be the least likely to care.
 
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Harumph.

Did our test dose today while he's kenneled at the clinic. Did 2 mg alprazolam (~.03 mg/lb). No noticeable effect, maybe slightly less edgy but still very vocal in the back runs. Going to give it a couple more hours, then talk about adjusting the dose or going back to the drawing board.
 

Southpaw

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Alprazolam on its own seems to make Cajun anxious. She's much more vocal and reactive, less focused on me than she usually is.
 

Dogdragoness

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In January, we're trekking 11 hours to the Michigan Winter Dog Classic. Garp will be dock diving and doing Barn Hunt all 4 days. He may also do a Rally run or 2. I will be asking a LOT of him those 4 days. He has the stamina for it.

We're traveling in a friend's dog-mobile, with 2 other dogs and 2 other people. He's a vocal, somewhat high strung dog and the last time we travelled in this setup, he shrieked and whined for 2 hours nonstop. He wasn't especially upset after being taken out of the crate after the ride, and wasn't exhibiting many signs of stress immediately after either.

Since then, we've been doing a lot of behavior modification exercises. It's a smaller crate than he's used to riding in, and there are other dogs in the car so we've been working with those parameters a bit. However.... I've also been talking with my vet about sedating for the ride. She thinks a minimal dose Ace would be the be best option, but right now, our main concern is performance the following days. I'm also aware of how acepromazine works in the body and how it doesn't mediate the emotional response.

The half life in dogs is ~15 hours, so the drug would still be in his system the next day when it's time to compete. My primary concern is how it might affect his reaction time, etc. Obviously, we would be doing at least one test dose well before the trip if we decide to go that direction.

Does anybody here have any experience with working a dog after sedation?
That depends on how much you give. I don't know about dogs since I have never given it but I do sometimes give it to my pony horse when it's cold and he hasn't worked in a few days lol. I usually give him about 1 cc or so of ACE liquid.

I used to give Bear melatonin or benadryl when I would go to shows to kind of make it easier for him to calm down.
 
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#17
As the day went on, he seemed to peak and get MORE frazzled before he crashed.

We've done melatonin. Including the time before the last dog trip from hell. Benadryl stresses him more too. Blah.

We are playing ALL TEH CRATE GAMEZ in the 36" hard side while we try to work something out. We have a month.
 
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