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Effects of epidurally administered morphine or buprenorphine on the thermal threshold in cats

Bruno H. Pypendop DrMedVet, DrVetSci1, Kristine T. Siao BS2, Peter J. Pascoe BVSc3, and Jan E. Ilkiw BVSc, PhD4
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  • 1 Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 2 Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 3 Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 4 Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the antinociceptive effects of epidural administration of morphine or buprenorphine in cats by use of a thermal threshold model.

Animals—6 healthy adult cats.

Procedures—Baseline thermal threshold was determined in duplicate. Cats were anesthetized with isoflurane in oxygen. Morphine (100 μg/kg diluted with saline [0.9% NaCl] solution to a total volume of 0.3 mL/kg), buprenorphine (12.5 μg/kg diluted with saline solution to a total volume of 0.3 mL/kg), or saline solution (0.3 mL/kg) was administered into the epidural space according to a Latin square design. Thermal threshold was determined at various times up to 24 hours after epidural injection.

Results—Epidural administration of saline solution did not affect thermal threshold. Thermal threshold was significantly higher after epidural administration of morphine and buprenorphine, compared with the effect of saline solution, from 1 to 16 hours and 1 to 10 hours, respectively. Maximum (cutout) temperature was reached without the cat reacting in 0, 74, and 11 occasions in the saline solution, morphine, and buprenorphine groups, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Epidural administration of morphine and buprenorphine induced thermal antinociception in cats. At the doses used in this study, the effect of morphine lasted longer and was more intense than that of buprenorphine.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the antinociceptive effects of epidural administration of morphine or buprenorphine in cats by use of a thermal threshold model.

Animals—6 healthy adult cats.

Procedures—Baseline thermal threshold was determined in duplicate. Cats were anesthetized with isoflurane in oxygen. Morphine (100 μg/kg diluted with saline [0.9% NaCl] solution to a total volume of 0.3 mL/kg), buprenorphine (12.5 μg/kg diluted with saline solution to a total volume of 0.3 mL/kg), or saline solution (0.3 mL/kg) was administered into the epidural space according to a Latin square design. Thermal threshold was determined at various times up to 24 hours after epidural injection.

Results—Epidural administration of saline solution did not affect thermal threshold. Thermal threshold was significantly higher after epidural administration of morphine and buprenorphine, compared with the effect of saline solution, from 1 to 16 hours and 1 to 10 hours, respectively. Maximum (cutout) temperature was reached without the cat reacting in 0, 74, and 11 occasions in the saline solution, morphine, and buprenorphine groups, respectively.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Epidural administration of morphine and buprenorphine induced thermal antinociception in cats. At the doses used in this study, the effect of morphine lasted longer and was more intense than that of buprenorphine.

Contributor Notes

Supported by a grant from Morris Animal Foundation.

The authors thank Rich Larson for performing the computed tomography studies.

Address correspondence to Dr. Pypendop.