Serum concentrations and effects of detomidine delivered orally to horses in three different mediums

Edward C. Ramsay, Dennis Geiser, Wyndee Carter, Thomas Tobin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective To compare the effect of orally delivered detomidine on head posture when administered alone or in combination with two different food items, and to determine the serum concentrations of detomidine after oral delivery. Study Design Prospective randomized experimental study. Animals Fifteen adult grade mares weighing 328–537kg. Methods The horses were randomly assigned to one of the three treatment groups (five horses each). The groups were given detomidine (0.06mgkg−1): alone; mixed with 3mL of an apple sauce and gum mixture; or mixed with 3mL molasses. Head droop, measured before treatment and at 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, and 105minutes after treatment, was used to evaluate sedation. Yohimbine (0.1mgkg−1 IV) was administered after the 90-minute evaluation. Blood samples were collected from the detomidine-alone group before treatment and at 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90minutes after treatment. Sera were analyzed for detomidine equivalent concentrations by an ELISA. Head droop percentages were compared using a repeated measures analysis of variance. Results Significant mean head droop developed in each treatment group by 30minutes and persisted until reversal with yohimbine. After yohimbine administration, head positions returned to 87–91% of pre-treatment levels. There were no significant differences among the oral treatment groups at any time. Mean serum detomidine equivalents increased slowly until 45-minute post-administration, but never exceeded 30ngmL−1. Conclusions Orally administered detomidine results in measurable serum drug concentrations using any of the delivery mediums investigated, and can be expected to produce profound head droop in horses approximately 45minutes after administration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-222
Number of pages4
JournalVeterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2002


  • Delivery mediums
  • Detomidine
  • Horse
  • Oral delivery
  • Sedation
  • Yohimbine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Veterinary (all)


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