Acepromazine for Cats

Acepromazine is a tranquilizer used in both dogs and cats. For cats, acepromazine can also be administered to reduce vomiting, anxiety and motion sickness. The medication, also known as "Ace," affects the chemical balance of your cat's brain by regulating dopamine levels, and must always be prescribed by a veterinarian. Acepromazine can be administered orally as a pill or in an injectable form, and can be found under a variety of brand names including PromAce and Aceproject.

Uses for Acepromazine in Cats

The sedative acepromazine has been approved by the FDA for use in dogs as a tranquilizer and preanesthetic medication, but is also a common veterinary drug for cats. Feline anxiety, especially anxiety associated with travel, is a particular condition that may be treated with acepromazine. Travel anxiety often brings symptoms like nausea, an upset stomach, vomiting, itching and scratching, excessive drooling and fear. Acepromazine can relieve these symptoms by sedating a cat and also relieving nausea, preventing vomiting and providing limited relief for itching. Because Ace does act as a sedative and causes disorientation and loss of balance, your cat should be secured in a safe crate or pet carrier. You cat should also be kept warm in his carrier due to a possible drop in body temperature because of the drug.

Acepromazine is also used as a tranquilizer before surgery or before veterinary examinations and procedures or grooming sessions with nervous or excitable animals. Whatever reason you have for giving your cat acepromazine, it is important to watch him for several hours after administering the medication due to lingering effects. Grogginess, disorientation and loss of balance may remain after medical procedures or travels have been completed.

Potential Side Effects of Acepromazine

Acepromazine is a powerful medication and may have side effects in cats and dogs. Always discuss your cat's health history and any previous medication problems with your vet and follow medication instructions when administering acepromazine. Possible side effects of acepromazine in cats include:

  • Disorientation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Slow breathing
  • Lower heart rate
  • Lower body temperature
  • Discolored urine
  • Pale gums
  • Constipation
  • Aggression
  • Allergic reactions

Considerations before Using Acepromazine

Cats that suffer from heart or liver disease may not be able to take acepromazine due to changes in heart rate and blood pressure. Animals with a history of seizures or epilepsy should not take the drug due to the effect acepromazine may have by initiating or worsening seizures. Puppies, older cats and pregnant or lactating cats should take precautions before being administered with acepromazine. Certain breeds are also more likely to develop complications with use, especially those with short noses and flat faces, such as Persians.

Some animals respond to the tranquilizer acepromazine with an opposite reaction by becoming excited and acting aggressively. For this reason, acepromazine should not be used to treat aggression in cats or dogs. Ace may also react with other medications your cat is taking, so always discuss medication with your veterinarian and any concerns you may have. Dosage amounts are also important to consider and owners should always follow dose instructions from their vet.