Detomidine Hydrochloride

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de-TOM-i-deen heye-dra-CHLOR-ide - Pronunciation guide

Brand Names

  • Detomidine Injection
  • Dormosedan Gel


Rx symbolDetomodine hydrochloride is a sedative with analgesic properties. The dose-dependent sedative and analgesic effects reduce production of excitatory neurotransmitters, thereby calming the horse, relieving abdominal pain, and facilitating bronchoscopy and other procedures.


Detomidine hydrochloride is used to calm excitable horses and to provide relief from abdominal pain, facilitating procedures such as bronchoscopy, bronchoalveolar lavage, nasogastric intubation, nonreproductive rectal palpations, and suturing skin lacerations. It is also approved for use as a local infiltration anesthetic for castration.

Dosage and Administration

Prescription medicationDetomidine Hydrochloride
Method Dosage
(click row for calculator)
Concentration Period Duration
Oral (gel)1 0.04 mg/kg 7.6 mg/mL 2, 3 Treatment NA
Intravenous or Intramuscular injection1 0.02-0.04 mg/kg 10 mg/mL Treatment NA


  • Federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.
  • 1For pain relief (analgesia), use intravenous administration.
  • Calculator is for educational purposes only. Follow your veterinarian's instructions regarding use of this, or any medication.

Side Effects

Detomidine slows the heart rate and can change the heart rhythm in some horses. Following administration, blood pressure may increase. Moderate loss of coordination, sweating, slight muscle tremors, and increased salivation are common.


As detomidine hydrochloride is an arrhythmogenic agent, extreme care should be taken in use with horses with cardiac disease. The concurrent administration of other arrhythmogenics and concurrent use of potentiated sulfonamide antibiotics is considered especially dangerous.

Careful consideration should be given prior to administration to horses approaching or in endotoxic or traumatic shock, to horses with liver or kidney disease, or to horses under stress from extreme heat, cold, fatigue, or high altitude.

Although detomidine is faster acting than some sedatives, it is important to wait until the drug has taken effect before beginning any procedure.

Detomidine should be used with caution in young foals because it can affect an animal's ability to regulate its temperature. The foal should remain in a temperature-controlled area until fully recovered.

When used in older horses, it is generally used at a lower dose.

Although detomidine provides pain relief, it does not completely block pain. Horses can react suddenly and unexpectedly. Care should be taken around a sedated horse at all times.

Detomidine is FDA approved and is a prescription drug. U.S.federal law restricts this drug to use by or on the lawful written or oral order of a licensed veterinarian.

Detomidine is a prohibited substance in most sanctioned competitions. Check with the proper regulatory group to determine provisions for therapeutic use of detomidine.


Detomidine has additive effects when used concurrently with other sedatives, tranquilizers, and general anesthetic drugs. Drugs used concurrently should be prescribed only by a veterinarian.

Detomidine should not be used with intravenous sulfonamide drugs.


According to the manufacturer, detomidine is safe at up to five times the normal dose. Overdose can cause heart arrhythmias, low blood pressure, and respiratory and central nervous system depression.

Yohimbine is a drug that can be used to reverse some of the effects of detomidine.


Detomidine InjectionDetomidine Injection

Dormosedan GelDormosedan Gel



About the Author

EquiMed Staff

EquiMed staff writers team up to provide articles that require periodic updates based on evolving methods of equine healthcare. Compendia articles, core healthcare topics and more are written and updated as a group effort. Our review process includes an important veterinarian review, helping to assure the content is consistent with the latest understanding from a medical professional.