A benzodiazepine tranquilizer, diazepam is used in veterinary medicine to sedate, reduce anxiety, promote behavioral changes or induce muscle relaxation. Diazepam is also an anticonvulsant and can be administered to some species to stimulate appetite.
Diazepam and Veterinary Compounding
In veterinary medicine, diazepam is commonly prescribed for dogs, cats, reptiles, sheep, cattle, horses, goats and swine. Depending on the needs of the individual patient, veterinary compounding can alter the form of the drug for oral, intravenous, rectal or intramuscular administration.
Veterinary Medicine — Diazepam Uses for Dogs and Cats
Diazepam is commonly administered as a sedative, muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant or anti-anxiety medication for dogs and cats. It may be given alone or combined in veterinary compounding in order to pointedly address individual dosage needs.
Diazepam is also used in the treatment of behavioral problems, such as aggression, excessive grooming, territorial spraying and terror caused by loud noises. When treating dogs for aggression, it is possible that diazepam can produce a reverse outcome, causing amplification rather than suppression of aggressive behaviors.
As an anticonvulsant, diazepam may be used in veterinary medicine for the treatment of seizures, whether due to toxic shock or status epilepticus. However, since dogs develop a tolerance rather quickly, diazepam is not typically selected for the continued management of seizures.
Veterinary Medicine — Diazepam and Horses
While not an analgesic, diazepam is commonly administered to sedate horses prior to surgical procedures. In adult horses, diazepam is often paired with another medication in to produce the necessary level of sedation.
Diazepam can also be administered to horses as an anticonvulsant, whether alone or as part of an amalgamation of other medications. It can also assist with breeding behaviors, particularly for withdrawn stallions.
Diazepam and Potential Side Effects
Common side effects may include impaired coordination and lethargy. Aggression, excitement or marked behavioral changes are unusual side effects. In addition, while a rarity, hepatic toxicity has also been reported in some cats.
Be sure to thoroughly discuss drug interactions and additional precautions with a specialist in veterinary medicine before using diazepam for treatment.