Excessive sedation is the most frequent cause of animal death during air travel, according to a study published in the Journal of AVMA.
Over-sedation can occur when owners who observe their dog in an excitable state before ravel administer a little more sedative.
This could have serious consequences: If your pet gets stuck in a hot cargo hold - or even under your seat -- without water, its health could be in jeopardy.
After the initial excitement of the trip to the airport and handling during loading, the dog might revert to a quiet resting state in the dark cargo hold. Use conditioning – not chemicals – for safe travel, says Victoria Lukasik, DVM, a board-certified veterinary anesthesiologist.
“Tranquilizers, the most popular being acepromazine, interfere with cardiac function and promote heat loss,” Lukasik says.
I do, because so many of my clients have told me about their past experiences and demanded sedation for their next pet. I dislike hearing a guarantee of “painless euthanasia”. So why would we put ourselves, our clients or our patients through unnecessary discomfort?
“He just dropped dead.” “It happened so fast.” “One minute she was standing up and the next she was dead.” “She died before I could touch her or tell her goodbye.” That’s what they tell me. There’s a reason for the “kissing corner” in hospitals when they take your loved one away to surgery. Even if they were caught and gently lowered to the ground, would you say it was a pleasant experience? If that isn’t enough to convince you, let me try this: not sedating will drive clients away from your practice.
Sedation affects a dog’s equilibrium, says Patricia Olson, DVM, director of veterinary affairs and studies for the Englewood, Colo.-based American Humane Association.