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Evaluation of administration of isoflurane at approximately the minimum alveolar concentration on depression of a nociceptive withdrawal reflex evoked by transcutaneous electrical stimulation in ponies

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  • 1 Anesthesiology Section, Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, Langassstrasse 124, 3012 Berne, Switzerland
  • | 2 Anesthesiology Section, Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, Langassstrasse 124, 3012 Berne, Switzerland
  • | 3 Anesthesiology Section, Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, Langassstrasse 124, 3012 Berne, Switzerland
  • | 4 Interuniversitary Center for the Study of Pain Neurophysiology, University of Genova, 16146 Genova, Italy
  • | 5 Institute of Biophysics, National Research Council, Via De Marini 6, 16149 Genova, Italy
  • | 6 Anesthesiology Section, Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, Langassstrasse 124, 3012 Berne, Switzerland

Abstract

Objective—To investigate effects of isoflurane at approximately the minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) on the nociceptive withdrawal reflex (NWR) of the forelimb of ponies as a method for quantifying anesthetic potency.

Animals—7 healthy adult Shetland ponies.

Procedure—Individual MAC (iMAC) for isoflurane was determined for each pony. Then, effects of isoflurane administered at 0.85, 0.95, and 1.05 iMAC on the NWR were assessed. At each concentration, the NWR threshold was defined electromyographically for the common digital extensor and deltoid muscles by stimulating the digital nerve; additional electrical stimulations (3, 5, 10, 20, 30, and 40 mA) were delivered, and the evoked activity was recorded and analyzed. After the end of anesthesia, the NWR threshold was assessed in standing ponies.

Results—Mean ± SD MAC of isoflurane was 1.0 ± 0.2%. The NWR thresholds for both muscles increased significantly in a concentration-dependent manner during anesthesia, whereas they decreased in awake ponies. Significantly higher thresholds were found for the deltoid muscle, compared with thresholds for the common digital extensor muscle, in anesthetized ponies. At each iMAC tested, amplitudes of the reflex responses from both muscles increased as stimulus intensities increased from 3 to 40 mA. A concentration-dependent depression of evoked reflexes with reduction in slopes of the stimulus-response functions was detected.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Anesthetic-induced changes in sensory-motor processing in ponies anesthetized with isoflurane at concentrations of approximately 1.0 MAC can be detected by assessment of NWR. This method will permit comparison of effects of inhaled anesthetics or anesthetic combinations on spinal processing in equids.

Contributor Notes

Dr. C. Spadavecchia's present address is the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Department of Companion Animal Clinical Science, PO Box 8146, 0033 Oslo, Norway.

Address correspondence to Dr. C. Spadavecchia.