Medetomidine (Domitor®) for Cats and Dogs

Medetomidine (Domitor®) for Cats and Dogs


Overview of Medetomidine (Domitor®) for Cats and Dogs

  • Medetomidine, commonly known by the brand name Dormitor, is an injectable drug used for sedation in dogs and cats. Medetomidine belongs to a class of drugs known as alpha 2 adrenergic agonists and is similar to clonidine and xylazine. It is a sedative that provides pain relief as well as muscle relaxation.
  • After intramuscular (IM) injection, the effects of medetomidine are seen within 10 to 15 minutes. After intravenous injection, the effects are seen within 5 minutes.
  • The analgesia associated with medetomidine only lasts 15 to 30 minutes but sedation can last 1 to 2 hours. Complete recovery can take 2 to 4 hours.
  • Within the first 3 to 5 minutes after IM injection, vomiting can occur.
  • The effects of medetomidine can be reversed with the use of atipamezole. This can significantly reduce the amount of time needed for recovery.
  • Despite appearing completely sedated, animals can still move, even kick, bite or scratch, in response to sharp auditory stimulation.
  • Medetomidine is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • Brand Names or Other Names of Medetomidine 

  • This drug is registered for use in animals only.
  • Human formulations: None
  • Veterinary formulations: Domitor® (Pfizer)
  • Uses of Medetomidine for Dogs and Cats

  • Medetomidine is used to produce sedation for short procedures and provides a short period of analgesia. It is also used as a preanesthetic before local or general anesthesia.
  • Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, medetomidine can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Medetomidine should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • The manufacturer recommends that the drug not be used in animals under 12 weeks of age.
  • Extreme caution must be used if medetomidine is given to animals with heart disease, low blood pressure, shock, breathing problems, severe liver or kidney disease, a known seizure disorder or if the animal is severely debilitated.
  • Medetomidine should not be used in the last trimester of pregnancy since it can induce premature labor.
  • Medetomidine may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with medetomidine. Such drugs include fentanyl, butorphanol, atropine, propofol and meperidine.
  • Adverse effects of medetomidine include slowed heart rate with partial heart block, low body temperature and slowed breathing rate.
  • Vomiting can occur following medetomidine administration and may result in aspiration pneumonia.
  • Currently, there is little information available regarding the use of medetomidine in cats so caution should be used.
  • How Medetomidine is Supplied

  • Medetomidine is available in 1 mg/ml concentration in 10 ml vials.
  • Dosing Information of Medetomidine for Cats and Dogs

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • For sedation in dogs, medetomidine is dosed at 0.75 mg/square meter of body surface area intravenous or 1 mg/square meter body surface area intramuscular.
  • In cats, medetomidine is dosed at 20 to 40 mcg per pound (40 to 80 mcg/kg) intramuscular.
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    Analgesic Drugs
    Autonomic Nervous System Drugs; Anesthetics; Analgesics



    Neurology & Nervous System disorders


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