Tiletamine & Zolazepam Used in Dogs

by Betty Lewis
    An intramuscular shot of Telazol carries a bit of a sting.

    An intramuscular shot of Telazol carries a bit of a sting.

    David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Combine the anesthetic tiletamine with the tranquilizer zolazepam and you'll come up with Telazol, a drug widely used by animal caregivers. Its versatility makes it useful for a variety of situations. Whether your dog is having surgery or a routine dental exam, this combination effectively works together to keep him comfortable and less stressed.

    Two Ingredients

    On their own, tiletamine and zolazepam aren't very effective pain relievers; however, together they can work magic to keep your pup comfortable. Tiletamine is a dissociative drug that disrupts the central nervous system. It doesn't relax Sparky's muscles, but makes them rigid and unresponsive to stimulation. Zolazepam, from the benzodiazepine drug family, is a depressant. On its own it's a mild tranquilizer, useful for its calming effects.

    One Magic Shot

    When tiletamine and zolazepam are combined into Telazol, they produce a state of relaxation in your pup. Depending on how much he receives, he'll be immobile, yet tranquil, unable to respond to stimulation. Telazol can be given intravenously or intramuscularly, making it useful for a variety of situations and procedures. If Sparky receives an intramuscular injection, it can take between two and six minutes for the Telazol to take effect; an intravenous injection is much faster, beginning to work in just 30 seconds.

    Working Together for a Purpose

    Telazol is handy for a vet or animal shelter to have around because it has many uses. A caregiver dealing with an aggressive dog appreciates the quick calming effect the drug has. Its ability to be used intravenously makes it a reliable choice for surgery, such as spaying or neutering your pup. Telazol is also a popular option for euthanasia, acting as a "complete" anesthesia, relaxing the pet and ensuring he feels no pain.

    Post Telazol

    If Sparky gets a dose of Telazol, he'll bounce back fairly quickly. Tiletamine has a metabolic half life of 1.3 hours in dogs, while zolazepam's half life is one hour. This means the zolazepam will wear off faster, resulting in a recovery that may include muscle rigidity, salivation, tremors and vocalization, which are indicative of the tiletamine portion of the drug. The vet may use diazepam to relieve the symptoms. Telazol is usually safe, but it can react with other medications. If Sparky has severe heart, kidney or lung disease, he shouldn't use Telazol; pregnant dogs shouldn't receive Telazol either.

    Photo Credits

    • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Betty Lewis is a writer and editor specializing in pet care, animals, careers and emergency management. She previously ran an animal shelter, where she also served as a kennel attendant and dog trainer. Lewis holds a bachelor's degree in journalism, an M.B.A. and a master's degree in professional studies.

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