Red Light, Green Light: Procedural Sedation

ArticleNovember 20232 min readSponsored
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Sponsored by Dechra

Many canine patients may require sedation for visits and/or diagnostic procedures for a variety of reasons; however, sedation carries risk (eg, cardiovascular compromise) and can have an unpredictable onset and duration of action. Zenalpha® (medetomidine and vatinoxan hydrochlorides injection) is a novel canine sedative with an innovative mechanism of action to mitigate cardiovascular side effects while maximizing clinical team efficiency. The active ingredients in Zenalpha are medetomidine and vatinoxan hydrochlorides, which act as an alpha-2 adrenoceptor agonist and alpha-2 adrenoceptor peripheral antagonist, respectfully. This unique combination results in an optimal balance of sedation and analgesia while mitigating cardiovascular side effects such as bradycardia and hypotension.1 Although not a replacement for dexmedetomidine, Zenalpha is an excellent option to consider when fast, effective canine sedation is needed.


Zenalpha is indicated for use as a sedative and analgesic in dogs to facilitate clinical examination, clinical procedures and minor surgical procedures. Zenalpha is not intended for use in cats.


As with all drugs, side effects may occur. For use in dogs only. Not intended for use in cats. Not for use in humans. Avoid skin, eye or mucosal contact. In case of accidental oral intake or self-injection, seek medical advice immediately and show the package insert to the physician. DO NOT DRIVE as sedation, loss of consciousness, and changes in blood pressure may occur. People with cardiovascular disease and pregnant women should exercise special caution to avoid exposure. Uterine contractions and decreased fetal blood pressure may occur after accidental systemic exposure. Do not use Zenalpha in dogs with cardiac disease, respiratory disorders, shock, severe debilitation, that have hypoglycemia or are at risk of developing hypoglycemia, or are stressed due to extreme heat, cold or fatigue. Zenalpha should not be administered in the presence of pre-existing hypotension, hypoxia or bradycardia. Due to the pronounced cardiovascular effects of alpha2-adrenoceptor agonists, only clinically healthy dogs (American Society of Anesthesiologists [ASA] classes I and II) should be administered Zenalpha. Dogs should be monitored frequently during sedation for changes in heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and body temperature. Tachycardia may occur in some dogs after recovery from sedation. The following adverse reactions have been reported: diarrhea, muscle tremors and colitis. Refer to the prescribing information for complete details or visit

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