Major Uses

Xylazine is an alpha2-adrenergic agonist that is commonly used for its sedative and analgesic qualities in a large variety of species. It is also used as an emetic in cats.

Common Precautions

Xylazine should not be used in animals that are receiving epinephrine or having active ventricular arrhythmias. Caution should be exercised when administering to animals with preexisting cardiac dysfunction, respiratory dysfunction, hypotension or shock, severe hepatic or renal insufficiency, preexisting seizure disorders, or if severely debilitated. It should not be used in the third trimester of pregnancy, as it may induce premature parturition. Ruminants that are dehydrated, debilitated, or have urinary tract obstruction should not take xylazine.

The most common side effect associated with xylazine is emesis. Other negative side effects can include bradycardia with partial A-V block, muscle tremors, reduced respiratory rate, increased urination, and movement in response to sharp auditory stimuli. Patients may also experience reduced tear production, diuresis, bloat, transient hypertension, and decreased mucociliary clearance rates.

Xylazine should not be used in animals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the drug. A veterinarian should be contacted immediately if an overdose is suspected, the symptoms of which can be cardiac arrhythmias, hypotension, and profound CNS and respiratory depression. Patients may also experience seizures during an overdose.


Xylazine should be kept at room temperature and stored in a container that is light resistant and childproof. It should be kept away from high heat and stored in a location where children and pets will be unable to reach it.


A typical dose of xylazine for dogs ranges from .05-1.1 mg/kg during surgery. For cats and horses, a typical dose ranges from .2-2.2 during surgery. Because xylazine is primarily used to sedate before surgery, doses should be carefully followed and administered by a trained veterinarian. These doses should not be increased or doubled, as an overdose may occur.

Doses may vary in different species, when the drug is given by a different route or concurrently with other medications, and with regards to a patient's age, breed, and health status. A veterinarian's dosing instructions and/or those printed on the medication label should be followed closely.

This information is for general reference only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition of your pet. It's intended as a general reference, this information may not include all possible uses, precautions, directions, reactions (including allergic), drug interactions, or withdrawal times. Always consult your local veterinarian and have your pet examined for any advice concerning the diagnosis and treatment of your pet, including which products and doses are most appropriate. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners. VetDepot is not a pharmacy. All prescription products are dispensed by our Pharmacy Partner. Article last updated 2/2014.