DALLAS – The state that executes more inmates than any other, Texas, said yesterday it will follow Oklahoma and switch one of its lethal injection drugs to a sedative often used to euthanize animals.

“It has been used by Oklahoma in their execution process, so there is a precedent there,” said Michelle Lyons, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. “Its use was upheld by the courts, so we’re confident it would be upheld by courts for use in Texas.”

The new drug, pentobarbital, will replace sodium thiopental in the Texas execution protocol. The change was necessary because Hospira Inc. of Illinois announced in January that it would stop making the anesthetic after Italy objected to Hospira manufacturing an execution drug in that country.

Since then, Ohio has also made the switch to pentobarbital, though its lethal injection protocol differs from that of Oklahoma and Texas. Ohio uses only pentobarbital while Texas and Oklahoma use a three-drug cocktail.