Oromucosal Dexmedetomidine Gel for Alleviation of Acute Fear and Anxiety in Dogs during Minor Veterinary and Husbandry Procedures
World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress Proceedings, 2017
M. Korpivaara1; M. Huhtinen1; J. Aspegren1; K. Overall2
1Orion Corporation - Orion Pharma, Research & Development, Turku, Finland; 2Biology Department, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA


Distress associated with veterinary visits is very common in dogs.


The primary objective was to evaluate the efficacy of dexmedetomidine gel in improving the ability to perform a physical examination and a short minor veterinary or husbandry procedure in dogs suffering from fear of these procedures. Two dexmedetomidine gel doses (125 µg/m2 and 250 µg/m2 were compared for efficacy and safety.


The study was a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, multicenter, pilot dose­determination study with 74 client-owned dogs. Eligibility of dogs was confirmed at a baseline visit. Investigators assessed the ability to perform the intended procedure using a scale from 1 (procedure could be easily performed) to 5 (not possible). The distributions of the 5 scores were compared between dexmedetomidine and placebo treatments using a generalised linear model for ordinal data.


The treatment effect was statistically significant (p=0.0136), the ability to perform the procedure was better with both 125 µg/m2 (OR 4.9; 90% Cl 1.9–13.1; p=0.0072) and 250 µg/m2 (OR 3.5; 90% Cl 1.4–8.9; p=0.0278) doses of dexmedetomidine compared with placebo. No sedation was noted. A decrease of 29–30 bpm in heart rate from the originally high values was seen in dexmedetomidine-treated dogs, but not for those on placebo, supporting the physiological anxiety lowering effect of the study treatment.


Dexmedetomidine gel alleviated fear and anxiety during minor veterinary or husbandry procedures in dogs previously reported to suffer from fear and anxiety during veterinary visits. Both dexmedetomidine gel doses 125 µg/m2 and 250 µg/m2 were effective and no safety concerns were observed.


Speaker Information
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M. Korpivaara
Research & Development
Orion Corporation - Orion Pharma
Turku, Finland

K. Overall
Biology Department
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA, USA

J. Aspegren
Research & Development
Orion Corporation - Orion Pharma
Turku, Finland

M. Huhtinen
Research & Development
Orion Corporation - Orion Pharma
Turku, Finland

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