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Reducing the Side Effects of a Sedative Commonly Used in Cats

Dexmedetomidine is a drug commonly used in cats for its calming and pain-relieving effects. It is also sometimes used before general anesthesia. Because the drug causes severe cardiovascular effects, however, it often cannot be used in older cats or those with systemic disease. MK-467 is a drug that may be able to prevent these cardiovascular side effects, while preserving the benefits of dexmedetomidine. Researchers will determine what dose of MK-467 would alleviate the negative cardiovascular effects of dexmedetomidine in cats without altering the drug’s sedative effect. Reducing the drug’s adverse effects would allow for its use in patients with systemic disease and likely would reduce the morbidity associated with its use.

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Dr. Bruno H. Pypendop, University of California–Davis