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Vetalar (Canada)

This page contains information on Vetalar for veterinary use.
The information provided typically includes the following:
  • Vetalar Indications
  • Warnings and cautions for Vetalar
  • Direction and dosage information for Vetalar


This treatment applies to the following species:
Manufacturer: Bioniche Animal Health

Ketamine Hydrochloride Injection U.S.P.


DIN 01989529

For Veterinary Use Only


Vetalar (ketamine hydrochloride) is a rapid acting, nonnarcotic, nonbarbiturate general anesthetic for cats, chemically designed 2-(o-chlorophenyl)-2-methylamino-cyclohexanone hydrochloride. It is supplied as a slightly acid (pH 3.5-5.5) solution for intramuscular injection.

Active Ingredient

Ketamine 100 mg/mL (as ketamine hydrochloride)

Non-Medicinal Ingredients: Nitrogen q.s., Water for Injection q.s.

Preservative: 0.01% w/v benzethonium chloride

Vetalar Indications

Vetalar may be used as the sole anesthetic agent for restraint, diagnostic and minor surgical procedures where muscle relaxation is not required in the domestic cat. Note: Additional compatible analgesia should be provided as needed for potentially painful procedures.

Dosage and Administration

Vetalar is administered by intramuscular injection.

When preparing for elective surgery it is recommended to withhold food for at least six hours prior to induction of anesthesia.

DOSAGE: 11-33 mg/kg body weight depending on the degree of restraint or the type of minor surgical procedure desired. The following dosages are indicated as a guide but may need to be adjusted depending on the physical condition of the patient and the use of sedatives and premedicants.

Dose mg/kg

Clinical Procedure


Minor restraint


Minor surgery and restraint of fractious cats


The use of Vetalar is not indicated in kittens under 12 weeks of age as it is not unusual in immature cats for anesthesia to be of shorter duration. Ketamine hydrochloride is contraindicated for procedures in cats requiring complete skeletal muscle relaxation.

CAUTIONS: For use in cats only. Because the drug is metabolized in the liver and excreted in the urine, although in cats largely unchanged, caution should be exercised in dosing subjects with hepatic or renal impairment. Caution should also be exercised in administering the drug to animals with cardiovascular abnormalities due to its hypertensive effect in cats. Safe use during pregnancy has not been established.

Induction and recovery should occur in quiet and calm surroundings.

Use of premedicants should be followed by a suitable reduction in ketamine dosage.

Eyes remain open and the pupils dilated; they should be protected by bland ophthalmic ointment or covering with a damp gauze swab.


Keep out of reach of children.

Adverse Reactions

At high dosage, respiratory depression may occur. If at any time cyanosis occurs, or if respiration becomes excessively depressed, resuscitative measures should be instituted promptly e.g. artificial respiration, oxygen administration, etc. May cause salivation in cats; atropine premedication may reduce this effect. Muscular twitching and mild tonic convulsions have occurred in cats at recommended dose rates; these may subside spontaneously but may be prevented by acepromazine or controlled by use of acepromazine or ultra short acting barbiturates in low doses. Use of intramuscular route may be associated with pain. Adverse reactions reported have included emesis, salivation, vocalization, erratic recovery and prolonged recovery, spastic jerking movements, convulsions, muscular tremors, hypertonicity, opisthotonos, dyspnea and cardiac arrest.

CLINICAL PHARMCOLOGY: Vetalar is a rapid acting anesthetic producing an anesthetic state characterized by profound analgesia, normal pharyngeal-laryngeal reflexes and skeletal muscle tone, mild cardiac stimulation and some respiratory depression. The anesthesia state produced by ketamine has been termed “dissociative anesthesia” in that it appears to selectively interrupt association of the brain before producing somesthetic sensory blockade.

Following administration of recommended doses of Vetalar, blood pressure and heart rate are usually moderately and transiently increased. Respiratory rate, on the other hand, is usually decreased in cats. The pharyngeal reflexes are maintained thus aiding in the maintenance of a patent airway. Although some salivation is occasionally noted, the persistence of the swallowing reflex effectively reduces the hazards of salivation.

Other reflexes, e.g. corneal, pedal, etc., are maintained under Vetalar anesthesia, and should not be used as criteria for depth of anesthesia. Moreover, the eyes normally remain open with pupil dilated, making it prudent to apply a bland ointment if anesthesia is to be prolonged. By single intramuscular injection in cats Vetalar has a wide margin of safety.

Following administration of recommended doses of Vetalar most cats become ataxic in about 5 minutes, and anesthesia will normally last 30 - 45 minutes. Recovery is generally smooth and uneventful, especially if animals are not stimulated by sound or handling during the recovery period. At lower doses complete recovery usually occurs in 4 - 5 hours but with higher levels of Vetalar recovery time is more prolonged and less predictable. With high levels, complete recovery may take 24 hours or more in some selected cases especially if the patient is in poor condition or suffering from nephritis.


Store at room temperature (15-30°C); protect from light. Use within 28 days of first use.

NOTE: Colour of solution may vary from colourless to very slight yellowish and may darken upon prolonged exposure to light. This darkening does not affect potency. Do not use if precipitate appears.

SUPPLY: Vetalar is supplied as the hydrochloride in concentrations equivalent to Ketamine base.

Each 10 mL vial contains 100 mg/mL

Each 50 mL vial contains 100 mg/mL

BIONICHE ANIMAL HEALTH CANADA INC., P.O. Box 1570, Belleville, Ontario K8N 5J2

NAC No.: 1215029.9

Distributed by VÉTOQUINOL N.-A. INC.
Telephone:   450-586-2252
Order Desk:   800-363-1700
Fax:   450-586-4649
Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the Vetalar information published above. However, it remains the responsibility of the readers to familiarize themselves with the product information contained on the Canadian product label or package insert.

Copyright © 2018 North American Compendiums. Updated: 2018-04-26