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This article is the second part of our Emergency Kit Must-Haves series. We understand that the unpredictable nature of emergencies can be an immense challenge; we wanted to share information on building an emergency kit to help you prepare for the unexpected.

This month we will be covering Dormosedan Gel®.

Dormosedan Gel® produces a mild sedative affect and is typically used prior to performing a minor surgical or diagnostic procedure, or if your horse gets nervous due to veterinary visits, clipping, or getting shod. Dormosedan Gel® is administered underneath the tongue, but it is ineffective if swallowed.  Dormosedan Gel® typically takes a minimum of 40 minutes to take affect and can make horses sedated up to 180 minutes.  Withhold both food and water until the effects of Dormosedan Gel® have worn off.

Dormosedan Gel® Application Do’s

  • Prior to administering Dormosedan Gel®, thoroughly clean the horse’s mouth, removing all food.  Ensure that food and water are removed from the stall so that the horse does not swallow the gel while drinking or eating.
  • Impermeable gloves must be used when handling Dormosedan Gel®.
  • Follow Zoetis’ dosing guide to determine the correct dose.

Dormosedan Gel® Application Don’ts

  • Avoid getting Dormosedan Gel® on your skin, eyes, or mouth because it is highly absorbed on these surfaces.  If your skin or mucous membranes are exposed to Dormosedan Gel®, wash the affected area immediately and promptly seek medical attention. If your Dormosedan Gel® gets on your clothing, remove that contaminated clothing article.
    • Note that Dormosedan Gel® has deleterious effects on humans, including low blood pressure and low heart rate.  If you have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, take special precautions when administering this drug.
  • Other drugs with sedation effects should not be used in conjunction with Dormosedan Gel®, as the effects may have a cumulative result.
  • If your horse has certain pre-existing conditions, such as atrioventricular or sino-atrial blocks, respiratory or kidney disease, do not use Dormosedan Gel®.
  • Do not use Dormosedan Gel® on horses who are already anesthesized or sedated, or if your horse is experiencing shock or stress due to extreme hea or cold, fatigue, or high altitude. 
  • If your horse has hypersensitivity to detomidine, do not use Dormosedan Gel®.
  • Do not use on horses intended for human consumption (we assume this probably doesn’t apply to our readers, but it is an important cautionary note).

Dormosedan Gel® General Cautionary Notes:

  • Federal law indicates that Dormosedan Gel® can only be prescribed or used by a licensed veterinarian.
  • Dormosedan Gel® is not a painkiller, and as such it should not be used during painful procedures.
  • Place Dormosedan Gel® under the horse’s tongue to successfully administer the medication.  Unlike many oral veterinary products, Dormosedan Gel® is not meant to be swallowed. Swallowing could result in ineffectiveness.
  • Horses administered Dormosedan Gel® can exhihbit hypertensive side effects, as well as incoordination or staggering within the first five minutes after injection.
  • Dormosesdan Gel is for horses over one year old.  It has not been tested in ponies, miniature horses, horses under one year of age, or in breeding, pregnant, or lactating horses.

For more information on emergency kit must-haves, horse news, or horse health information, subscribe to our newsletter!

“Dormosedan Gel®.” Drugs.Com, Accessed 26 July 2022.

DORMOSEDAN (detomidine hydrochloride) GEL is a synthetic alpha2-adrenoreceptor agonist with sedative properties. DORMOSEDAN GEL® is indicated for sedation and restraint in horses. “Dormosedan Gel®®.” Zoetis US,

“FDA Approves First Generic Detomidine Hydrochloride Injectable Solution for Horses.” FDA, 28 Apr. 2020,

Luukkanen, L., et al. “Some Effects of Multiple Administration of Detomidine during the Last Trimester of Equine Pregnancy.” National Library of Medicine, Equine Veterinary Journal, Sept. 1997,

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