Imboden, T. J., Pownall, W. R., Rubin, S. et al. 2023. Determination of a safe sedative combination of dexmedetomidine, ketamine and butorphanol for minor procedures in dogs by use of a stepwise optimization method. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 65(1), 41.

In veterinary practice, most minor procedures such as radiographs, skin biopsies, and wound treatments require sedation. The combination of butorphanol, ketamine, and dexmedetomidine is commonly used, but the ideal dosages for this combination have not been defined. This randomized prospective clinical 3-phases trial initially tested eight clinically relevant combinations of intramuscular administration in 50 dogs (phase 1). The quality of each combination was rated using a purposefully developed negative score (NS; 0-21.5, the lower the NS the better the quality of sedation) to judge the quality of sedation, the occurrence of side effects, and the need for additional anaesthetics. Based on the results of the NS, the eight combinations were divided into “promising” and “unsatisfactory” subgroups. In phase 2, a new combination (N) was calculated and tested in six dogs replacing the worst of the eight initial combinations. This procedure was repeated until the NS could not be improved any further. In phase 3, the best combination was tested in 100 adult dogs undergoing diagnostic or therapeutic procedures.

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