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Acepromazine; porcupine quills


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#1 Alaska

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 01:44 PM

Is there a suitable drug to use to partially immobilize a border collie in order to remove porcupine quills in the field? I am about to set off on a several-month-long hike with my dogs and would like to be prepared for this possibility should it occur when I am several days hike from the nearest vet.

I asked my vet to prescribe a sedative for this use. He said that Acepromazine would be what he would prescribe, but that before he did so he would like me to test the dogs for the mdr1 gene mutation.

I then came back to the boards and read this thread , wherein I learned that a border collie is very unlikely to have the mdr1 mutation. But the thread only says that normal doses of heartworm preventatives are okay; it does not address the effects of Ace at the dosage I'm asking for. My vet's point was that it would be better to do the test and know for sure that the dogs (whose pedigrees I do not know) did not have the mutation. I suppose so, but I can't really tell from the above thread whether I could safely skip the test and administer Ace.

Then I searched the boards for "Acepromazine" and found this thread , which says not ever to use Ace for noise phobias. This I understand and agree with, but I'm not talking about a noise phobia. I only want to have a way to suppress the dog's ability to struggle in the unlikely event I should have to singlehandedly deal with quill removal in a remote setting.

My vet was fairly skeptical about using Ace for this purpose anyway. He thought I'd be better off to muzzle and hogtie the dog, should it come to that.

I guess I'm asking two questions here:

1. Should I test for the mdr1 mutation?

2. What is the best way to be prepared for quill removal?

FWIW, I know that one of my dogs has already had Ace in a pre-surgery cocktail without an adverse reaction.

Also, I have a fair bit of experience with quill removal in a variety of dogs and a variety of settings, but almost always where help was available and a vet not more than a day away. Also, my older dog normally behaves quite responsibly around porcupines, which we encounter often. I just want to be prepared should the unlikely occur (which does seem to happen with disheartening regularity in our active lives :rolleyes: ).

#2 AK dog doc

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 02:22 PM

To be honest, I don't generally advise trying Ace to remove PPQ's - or trying to do it with nothing but a muzzle, either. Unless you only have a few quills, you run the risk of harming the dog, IMO. We had a client kill their dog this way via hyperthermia and shock. We do have some clients in the bush who have Ace on hand for use in such emergencies, but it's far from ideal.

Your situation may make it so there IS no ideal solution, but because of cardiovascular supressant effects which may occur on Ace, I can't advise you on this; your own vet would be the best source, but I have to say I join your vet in his skepticism. I wish I could be more helpful, but PPQ's are just a giant pain. Literally and figuratively. I very much hope you have a great trip and nary a PPQ to mar it, whatever you decide to do to prepare.
It is illegal for me to diagnose your dog over the internet. I respectfully decline to answer e-mail or PM requests for medical advice or diagnosis. I will respond to questions posted in the public fora as I have time and at my own discretion. Thank you for your understanding.

Besides, I have to go make some wine now.

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#3 Alaska

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 03:15 PM

Thanks!

The only time my older dog has actually received any quills during her numerous encounters with porcupines, we got them out by distracting her to one side with various tasty items while an assistant snuck in from the other side with pliers. She acquired a healthy distrust of pliers from that incident, but no restraint was needed and the plier aversion was later overcome by counterconditioning. Normally she only alerts for porcupines but does not interact. In this case she got a handful on one side of her face only, so I think it was an accidental brush. As far as I know, she does not "go after" porcupines with intent to damage. I too am hoping for a porcupine-free summer . Just trying to be prepared where I can be.

The younger dog is an unknown with porcupines but at least does not display much in the way of prey drive. And they both stick pretty close to me.

So okay, no Ace. Any opinion on whether the mdr1 screen is a good idea "just so you know"?

#4 Bill Fosher

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 03:30 PM

I like to use an arterial clamp (haemostat?) rather than pliers. Grasp the quill near the body, close the clamp, and remove it by twisting the clamp as if you were wrapping the quill around the point of the clamp. One nice thing about this method is that if the dog jerks away, the clamp is still in place for the second attempt.

#5 AK dog doc

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 05:21 PM

Hemostats work great - more "agile" than pliers and a better grip - plus they lock. I usually use hemostats and needle drivers in combination.

If your dog only got a few quills, she probably won't do it again. It's the ones who are loaded with quills who do it over and over: either they had a great time going after the porcupine and don't care about the quills 'til after the fact, or they got really mad and are going to try to kill the next one they see. The ones who take an experimental sniff or bite and don't like getting quilled tend not to do it again; they stand back the next time.

As for the mdr1 screen - well, I'm always for more info rather than less. If it's not a financial burden to do, it might be useful to know. I rarely run this test, however; not many people are well-enough informed about the risks/rewards related to the mdr1 gene to go for it.
It is illegal for me to diagnose your dog over the internet. I respectfully decline to answer e-mail or PM requests for medical advice or diagnosis. I will respond to questions posted in the public fora as I have time and at my own discretion. Thank you for your understanding.

Besides, I have to go make some wine now.

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http://vetontheedge.blogspot.com


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