Lone Star Boxer Rescue is the Houston Chapter of Austin Boxer Rescue, a nonprofit 501(C)(3) organization dedicated to the health and well-being of the boxer breed. LSBR/ABR is run and managed 100% by volunteers since 1999. Our main objective is to rescue, rehabilitate, and re-home boxers that come to us from many sources including local animal shelters, owner surrenders, and strays. Please consider making a tax deductible donation to allow us to save more dogs in need throughout the state of Texas.

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Acepromazine: The Sedative that is Not Safe for Your Boxer 

May 25, 2015, Barbra Denempont

Maybe you have never heard of the word “Acepromazine,” but it is an animal tranquilizer that has been around for decades. Acepromazine (Ace) is very commonly used to prepare dogs for surgery. It is also prescribed to calm anxious or agitated dogs and to suppress nausea.

Considered a “dissociative anesthetic,” Ace reportedly blocks receptors in the central nervous system, scrambling a dog’s perceptions.  When the brain cannot process messages normally, it results in the appearance of sedation and relaxation.  While we might want a little wonder drug to calm our dogs for a long trip or in the midst of a thunderstorm, appearances are deceiving and the side effects for Boxers are potentially devastating.

Ace is Not Recommended for Fearful or Anxious Dogs

While Ace will sedate your dog, it will not relieve his fear or anxiety. Take a moment to imagine what that would feel like in your own body. What if you were scared of something enough to want to run away, but you couldn’t run. You couldn’t react. Your fear would naturally intensify. In fact, dogs can learn to be more fearful and more reactive in stressful situations because of the associations made with their scrambled perceptions experienced under the drug.

Consider the Side Effects

Think of the brain like a control center and you begin to understand the long list of potential side effects of Acepromazine. As well as causing sedation, the drug has an impact on the controls for blood pressure, breathing, and body temperature, with potentially serious consequences for dogs with underlying health problems.

  • Increased seizures in epileptics

  • Exposure of your pet’s “third eyelid”

  • Low blood pressure

  • Change in respiratory rate

  • Heart failure

  • Aggression

  • Constipation

  • Seizures

  • Convulsions

  • Vomiting

  • Shock

  • Death 

Boxer Owners: Just Say No to Ace

It has been well documented that Boxers have a particular sensitivity to Ace that can result in collapse and death.  It is never safe. Just say no! In 1997, there was a veterinary warning advising against its use in Boxers. Here is what the American Boxer Club explained:

 “In the Boxer, it tends to cause a problem called first degree heart block, a potentially serious arrhythmia of the heart. It also causes a profound hypotension (severe lowering of the blood pressure) in many Boxers that receive the drug. Recently, on the Veterinary Information Network, a computer network for practicing veterinarians, an announcement was placed in the cardiology section entitled “Acepromazine and Boxers.” This described several adverse reactions to the drug in a very short time span at a veterinary teaching hospital. All the adverse reactions were in Boxers. The reactions included collapse, respiratory arrest, and profound bradycardia (slow heart rate, less than 60 beats per minute). The announcement suggested that Acepromazine should not be used in dogs of the Boxer breed because of a breed-related sensitivity to the drug.” 

Talk to Your Veterinarian Before Surgery

Because Ace is used so commonly, check with your veterinarian on their pre-surgical protocols before your Boxer goes in for any medical procedure. Not all veterinarians may know about the specific sensitivity Boxer’s have to Ace. Boxer World offers some need to know information and tips to help you speak with your vet.





PLEASE NOTE: We are not vets, please consult with your pets care provider for any questions related to your dog.