Evaluation of threshold doses of drug action in the horse using hematocrit values as an indicator

T. Wood, S. Stanley, W. E. Woods, P. Henry, D. Watt, T. Tobin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This study was designed to explore the use of hematocrit values as possible indicators of the threshold doses of adrenergic drugs in the performance horse. Acepromazine, detomidine, and fluphenazine were tested for their effects on hematocrit values, with the threshold dose for these effects investigated. Hematocrit values were shown to be quite sensitive to the administration of acepromazine with doses as low as 50 μg/horse producing detectable depressions in hematocrit values for up to 2 hours. Increasing the dose increased the magnitude of the effect, but did not appear to prolong it, while in contrast, reducing the dose to below 25 μg/horse totally eliminated the effect. The alpha-2 agonist detomidine produced a similar depression in hematocrit values, although doses of 10 μg/kg or approximately 5 mg/horse, were needed to produce a measurable effect. The anti-psychotic fluphenazine, which is believed to be an illegally administered drug in race horses, had no significant effect on hematocrit values when comparable doses were administered. In addition, the results of monitoring the hematocrit values of six horses for 48 hours suggested that the variations seen may be partially related to circadian factors, with peak values occurring in the afternoon hours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-241
Number of pages11
JournalResearch Communications in Chemical Pathology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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