Xylazine is an FDA approved drug that is used for sedation, anesthesia, muscle relaxation, and analgesia in animals. It is marketed by Bayer under the brand name Rompun.

If you look under the NADA Abstract, you will see that it is approved for various animals, including dogs;

Dogs

Amount:
0.5 milligrams per pound intravenously or 1.0 milligram per pound intramuscularly.

Indications:
To produce sedation, as an analgesic, and as a preanesthetic to local or general anesthesia.

The question is, just because it’s approved by the FDA, does that make it safe and acceptable to use? We’ve all heard horror stories about FDA approved drugs causing damages and deaths and being pulled from the market. There are also many cases where drugs become obsolete due to better drugs being developed.

I recently received an email from a woman who lost her beloved dog after he was sedated with Xylazine and Atropine.

On April 28, 2008, Patricia Deeds took her Cockappo, Mutley, to be neutered. Moments after he was injected with Xylazine, his heart stopped.

“He was my baby. He was my companion, he was so special,” said Deeds. “He should be here with me now. He should not have died.”

Patricia firmly believes that Xylazine was the cause of her dog’s death and wants to warn other pet owners of the danger.

Following is an excerpt from the email I received from Patricia:

I still do not have any answers as to the exact cause of his death . I am left on my own to research to find the answers as the vet has not communicated with me at all. He called the State Lab where I had a necropsy to tell the vet not to talk to me. Why if they have nothing to hide? By the way the necropsy report stated that my dog was a HEALTHY dog. I have called 20 vets and out of all only one said he would use these drugs and only on a pig. I asked him why and he said that it was a dangerous drug. I think this needs to be investigated as I am trying to do so. I really think something went terribly wrong and I will continuously keep trying to find answers for my sweet Mutley and others that they may not have this trait happen. The pain has been unbearable . I found a Mr Rowe in Wilmington, N.C that took his dog in to have his toenails clipped and he suddenly died after sedation too. He had done this all of his dog’s life and now he lost his beloved friend also. What’s going on? I fear that it will continue to happen to many more pets.

Patricia was interviewed by a MD television station shortly after she emailed me, you can find the video below. The vet interviewed in the video states:

“I don’t know any progressive veterinary clinic that uses Xylazine,” said vet Gary Weitzman.

Weitzman can think of no reason why anyone would use Xylazine. He characterizes it as old fashioned.

“There are so many more advanced and updated anesthesias today,” he said.

Xylazine Dog Death.flv

The FDA website lists hundreds of complaints regarding Xylazine in the past decade;

Cumulative Veterinary Adverse Drug Experience (ADE) Reports– go to the bottom of the page, under 1987 to April 7, 2008 – SZ< (2.16 MB), click on SZ. On the side panel, scroll down until you get to Xylazine (it’s in alphabetical order) and these are the Adverse Drug Experience Reports. It will list the species at the top, so just look for those that have Dog as the species. http://www.fda.gov/cvm/ade_cum.htm

The complaints about Xylazine represent only those who took the time to fill out the necessary form and file it with the Food and Drug Administration. It represents on those who made a connection between Xylazine and their pet’s illness or death as well.

A representative at the vet clinic where Patricia took her beloved Mutley stressed that Xylazine is safe and the deaths associated with it represent a fraction of total surgeries. It is also important to note the vast majority of spay and neuterings, even those with Xylazine are successful.

My heart breaks for Patricia as for anyone who loses a beloved pet, especially so unexpectedly. Perhaps Xylazine is outdated. Sadly, there’s a risk with just about any medication on the market, some much higher than others. Anesthesia and surgery can often pose higher unexpected risks, even for an otherwise healthy animal.

As a pet owner, parent or companion, however you choose to think of yourself, the best thing you can do is to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Talk to your vet as you would or at least should, your doctor. Find out about any prescribed medications or meds that will be used on your pet. Take the time to do some research on the internet. The internet is a powerful tool, use it!! The life you are safeguarding and may be saving is your pet’s. Don’t let your dog suffer because of what you don’t know!

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