Propofol (PropoFlo®, Rapinovet®) for Dogs and Cats

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Overview of Propofol for Dogs and Cats

  • Propofol, PropoFlo® or  Rapinovet®, is an injectable anesthetic unrelated to any other general anesthetic agent sometimes used for dogs and cats. Its mechanism of action is not well understood. Propofol received much media attention as the drug Michael Jackson used nightly to "sleep". 
  • Propofol is an injectable short-acting hypnotic that produces rapid, smooth and excitement-free anesthesia induction.
  • The effects of propofol are seen within 30 to 60 seconds after administration and last for about 20 minutes.
  • At low doses, propofol will result in sedation. Proper dose results in unconsciousness.
  • Propofol can temporarily increase appetite and reduce the impulse to vomit.
  • Unlike many other anesthetics, propofol does not have any pain relieving properties.
  • Propofol is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • Brand Names and Other Names of Propofol

  • This drug is registered for use in humans and animals.
  • Human formulations: Diprivan® (Zeneca)
  • Veterinary formulations: PropoFlo® (Abbott) and Rapinovet® (Schering)
  • Uses of Propofol for Dogs and Cats

  • Propofol is used primarily as an anesthetic for short procedures and an induction agent prior to general anesthesia.
  • Propofol has also been used to control seizures unresponsive to standard anticonvulsants.
  • Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, propofol can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Propofol should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Propofol should be used with caution in animals in shock, severe stress or victims of trauma.
  • If given rapidly, propofol can cause breathing to stop, slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure. With proper monitoring, these are typically temporary effects.
  • Though it has been used to control seizures, propofol has been shown to induce seizures in some animals.
  • Propofol should be used with caution in animals with a known seizure disorder.
  • Since propofol is metabolized by the liver, cats with liver disease may take longer to recover.
  • Avoid consecutive use of propofol in cats since it has been shown to result in anorexia, lethargy and diarrhea.
  • Propofol may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with propofol. Such drugs include some narcotics, acepromazine, atropine and cimetidine.
  • How Propofol is Supplied

  • Propofol is available in 10mg/ml concentration in 20 ml, 50 ml and 100 ml bottles.
  • Dosing Information of Propofol for Dogs and Cats

  • Propofol is dosed at 1.5 to 4 mg per pound (3 to 8 mg/kg) intravenous, given slowly over 1 minute.
  • For constant infusion, propofol is dosed at 0.05 to 0.3 mg per pound per minute (0.1 to 0.6 mg/kg/min).
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects.
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