When I offered my answer, I received a comment urging me to be more clear about “ace” so that pet owners wouldn’t get a one-sided view of this popular drug.
Typically, levels are (i) agitation, (ii) calm, (iii) responsive to voice alone, (iv) responsive to tactile stimulation, (v) responsive to painful stimulation only, and (vi) unresponsive to painful stimulation.For this reason, one of my local behaviorists is especially opposed to its use during storm or fireworks season. But for me, the larger issue is this: With acepromazine, the potential for dysphoria (an unhappy feeling) is high.Though we have no way of confirming this (except by inference, as in the case of heightened aggression in dogs who receive ace), we do know that similar tranquilizers in humans have fallen out of favor due to their dysphoric effects on people.Nonetheless, clinicians may underuse sedation, usually from a lack of experience or from unchallenged myths regarding its use.Sedation is the depression of a patient's awareness to the environment and reduction of his or her responsiveness to external stimulation.Whether because of a bad personal experience with another pet, or lack of information, many pet owners are scared of having their pets put under anesthesia.
Surely, there’s always a risk with anesthesia, for any pet.
Pre-op, it’s used to lower the dose of anesthetic induction agents to follow, lower blood pressure slightly, reduce the potential for arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms) and vomiting, and to confer mild relaxation prior to the procedure.
Post-op, its synergistic effects with drugs like opiates mean that a small dose of acepromazine makes the pain relievers more effective in smaller doses. But I don’t tend to reach for acepromazine in the first two instances (for which sedation is the ultimate goal).
This is accomplished along a continuum of sedation levels: Prior to the administration of medications, clinicians must know the level of sedation required for a given procedure and the appropriate dose of the pharmacologic agent or agents chosen.
This determines the equipment that one should have readily available prior to starting the procedure.
Individual patient response to medications can vary; therefore, the clinician can potentially overshoot the desired level of anesthesia.