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Xylazine has been a popular premedication for use in cattle for sedation and brief surgical procedures such as rumenotomy, dehorning, and minor surgical procedures.

Xylazine an alpha-2 blocker widely used in bovine medicine. It is most potent nonnarcotic sedative and analgesic as well as muscular relaxant. It has wide margin of safety. Increase in dose does not increase the degree of sedation but it increases the duration of effect. The terminal half-life of xylazine is short, indicating that xylazine concentration would decrease to undetectable level within a few hours. The total body clearance varies significantly. Xylazine clearance is been attributed mainly to metabolisation to inactive derivatives[1].

The volume of distribution is large apparently because of the lipophilic nature of the compound[2][3].

Recommended dose in cattle is:

  • 0.25 ml per 100 kg body weight; sedation, small operations.
  • 1.50 ml per 100 kg body weight; very extensive operations.


  1. Yadav, GU et al (2008) Efficacy of Xylazine as a Sedative in Cattle. Veterinary World 1(11):340
  2. Mutlib, A., Chui, Y., Young, L. and Abbott, F., (1992). Characterization of metabolites of xylazine produced in vivo and in vitro by LC/MS/MS and GC/MS. Drug Metab Dispos 20:840-848
  3. Garcia-Villar, R., Toutain, P-L., Alvinerie, M. and Ruckebusch, Y., (1981). The pharmacokinetics of xylazine hydrochloride: An interspecific study. J. Vet. Pharmacol. Therap 4:87-92