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Effects of buprenorphine on nociception and spontaneous locomotor activity in horses

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  • 1 School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of São Paulo State, Botucatu, Brazil 18618-000
  • | 2 School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, University of São Paulo State, Botucatu, Brazil 18618-000
  • | 3 Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Veterinárias, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Jaboticabal, Brazil 14884-900
  • | 4 Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Veterinárias, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Jaboticabal, Brazil 14884-900

Abstract

Objective—To investigate spontaneous locomotor activity (SLA) and antinociceptive effects of buprenorphine in horses.

Animals—6 healthy adult horses.

Procedures—Horses received each of 3 treatments (10 mL of saline [0.9% NaCl] solution, 5 μg of buprenorphine/kg, or 10 μg of buprenorphine/kg).Treatments were administered IV. Order of treatments was randomized, and there was a 10-day interval between subsequent treatments. Spontaneous locomotor activity was investigated in a behavioral box by use of infrared photoelectric sensors connected to a computer, which detected movement of each horse. Antinociceptive effect was investigated by hoof-withdrawal reflex latency (HWRL) and skin-twitching reflex latency (STRL) after painful stimulation with a heat lamp.

Results—Moderate excitement was observed in all horses from 5 to 10 minutes after the administration of both dosages of buprenorphine. The SLA increased significantly for 6 and 14 hours after IV administration of 5 and 10 μg of buprenorphine/kg, respectively. Values for HWRL increased significantly only at 30 minutes after injection of 5 μg of buprenorphine/kg, whereas STRL and HWRL each increased significantly from 1 to 6 hours (except at 2 and 4 hours) and 11 hours, respectively, after injection of 10 μg of buprenorphine/kg.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—IV injection of buprenorphine caused a dose-dependent increase in SLA, but only the dose of 10 μg/kg induced analgesia on the basis of results for the experimental method used.

Abstract

Objective—To investigate spontaneous locomotor activity (SLA) and antinociceptive effects of buprenorphine in horses.

Animals—6 healthy adult horses.

Procedures—Horses received each of 3 treatments (10 mL of saline [0.9% NaCl] solution, 5 μg of buprenorphine/kg, or 10 μg of buprenorphine/kg).Treatments were administered IV. Order of treatments was randomized, and there was a 10-day interval between subsequent treatments. Spontaneous locomotor activity was investigated in a behavioral box by use of infrared photoelectric sensors connected to a computer, which detected movement of each horse. Antinociceptive effect was investigated by hoof-withdrawal reflex latency (HWRL) and skin-twitching reflex latency (STRL) after painful stimulation with a heat lamp.

Results—Moderate excitement was observed in all horses from 5 to 10 minutes after the administration of both dosages of buprenorphine. The SLA increased significantly for 6 and 14 hours after IV administration of 5 and 10 μg of buprenorphine/kg, respectively. Values for HWRL increased significantly only at 30 minutes after injection of 5 μg of buprenorphine/kg, whereas STRL and HWRL each increased significantly from 1 to 6 hours (except at 2 and 4 hours) and 11 hours, respectively, after injection of 10 μg of buprenorphine/kg.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—IV injection of buprenorphine caused a dose-dependent increase in SLA, but only the dose of 10 μg/kg induced analgesia on the basis of results for the experimental method used.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Carregaro's present address is Departamento de Clínica de Pequenos Animais, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Santa Maria, Brazil 97105-900.

Support for the first author was provided by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior.

This manuscript represents a portion of a thesis submitted by the first author to the School of Medicine, Universidad Estadual Paulista for the PhD degree.

Address correspondence to Dr. Carregaro.