is one drug used in anesthetic protocols that should not be used
in the Boxer. That drug is Acepromazine, a tranquilizer, that
is often used as a preanesthetic agent. In the Boxer, it tends
to cause a problem called first degree heart block, a potentially
serious arrythmia of the heart. It also causes a profound hypotension
(severe lowering of the blood pressure) in many Boxers that are
given the drug. Recently on the Veterinary Information Network,
a computer network for practicing veterinarians, an announcement
was placed in the cardiology section entitled "Acepromazine
and Boxers". This described several adverse reactions to
the drug in a very short time span at a Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
All the adverse reactions were in Boxers. The reactions included
collapse, respiratory arrest, and profound bradycardia (slow heart
rate, less than 60 beats per minute). The announcement suggested
that acepromazine should not be used in dogs of the Boxer breed
because of a breed-related sensitivity to the drug.
drug is the most commonly prescribed tranquilizer in veterinary
medicine. It is also used orally and is prescribed for owners
who want to tranquilize their dogs for air travel. I would strongly
recommend that Boxer owners avoid the use of this drug, especially
when the dog will be unattended and/or unable to receive emergency
medical care if it is needed.