Over the years there have been some problems when using barbiturate anesthesia agents in the Sighthound breeds and even in breeds like the Akbash Dog who have sighthound backgrounds and sighthound characteristics. The reason is not completely understood. However, it is known that Barbiturates are redistributed into the fat. Due to the fact that the sighthounds have a much less amount of fat versus muscle mass leads us to think that therein lays the problem. Fortunately, with the advance in anesthesia research and development, there are much better alternative anesthetic agents, and barbiturates are rarely used anymore.
However, the sedative Agent Acepromazine is sometimes still used today, and it has caused some problems in the breed. If used it must be used with much caution and very, very conservatively as some dogs will go very deep when dosed at recommended by weight. There have also been some incidences of Acepromazine causing extreme drops in blood pressure, resulting in sudden death. Acepromazine is still used today in some clinics as a sedative, tranquilizer or pre anesthesia agent. I recommend not using Acepromazine on the Akbash Dog.At our Vet Clinic we have used either an inhalation anesthesia Isoflurane or an intramuscular injectable combination of Xylazine & Ketamine HCL on our Akbash Dogs for spays and neuters and other procedures requiring anesthesia. We weigh each dog and use the recommended dose to weight of Xylazine and Ketamine and have had no problems even with repeated use of these drugs. The Akbash Dog does seem to metabolize Xylazine and Ketamine HCL more slowly than some breeds and make take longer for the Akbash Dog to be fully awake and steady on its feet, but other than that we have had no problems with these drugs.
There are also several other good anesthesia agents available today and I think they are all safe to use on the Akbash Dog.
So in conclusion if you are taking your Akbash Dog to your Veterinarian for any procedure requiring anesthesia, it would be wise to advise them to treat the Akbash Dog as they would a Sighthound breed and specifically ask them to avoid any barbiturate anesthesia or AcePromazine. Some Veterinarians, probably don’t see many Sighthound types of dogs and aren’t aware of the breed specific problems with these agents.