Alpha 2-adrenergic agonists are often used for sedation and, or, analgesia in dogs, but they are often associated with bradycardia and in some animals with atrioventricular heart block. In this study, atropine or glycopyrrolate either helped to maintain the heart rates or were effective in increasing reduced heart rates of dogs treated with medetomidine. In the process, however, cardiac dysrhythmias often developed. These dysrhythmias were predominantly associated with the combined responses to the medetomidine and the anticholinergic agent because there were no significant changes in respiratory function. A reduced blood oxygen content or increased blood carbon dioxide can contribute to cardiac irritability. Atropine and glycopyrrolate were more effective in preventing bradycardia and had less undesirable side effects when they were given before the administration of medetomidine.
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