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Investigation of a maxillary nerve block technique in healthy New Zealand White rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Taryn Peña DVM1, Luis Campoy LV1, and Ricardo de Matos LMV, MSc1
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To investigate use of a candidate maxillary nerve block in rabbits.

ANIMALS

13 healthy New Zealand White rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus).

PROCEDURES

In phase 1, the maxillary nerve block procedure was performed in 7 sedated rabbits with 2 volumes (0.25 and 0.5 mL) of a saline (0.9% NaCl)-tissue marker dye solution (1 injection/side by random assignment). Rabbits were euthanized and dissected; numeric scales were used to rate injection accuracy and extent of staining. In phase 2, the nerve block was performed with articaine hydrochloride-epinephrine solution (0.5 mL) on a randomly assigned side in 6 sedated rabbits, with the contralateral side used as a control. Sensory function of the relevant dermatome was tested in triplicate with an algesiometer 0, 30, and 90 minutes after recovery from sedation. Statistical methods were used to compare results between injection volumes (phase 1) and between treated and control sides (phase 2).

RESULTS

In phase 1, dye was in contact with the targeted nerve after 13 of 14 injections. Accuracy and extent of staining did not differ significantly between volumes. In phase 2, algesiometer-applied force tolerance differed significantly between treated and control sides 30 minutes after recovery from sedation (56 to 145 minutes after the nerve block procedure). No adverse effects were detected in either study phase.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

The described technique for a maxillary nerve block was accurate and effective for desensitization of the relevant dermatome as assessed by algesiometry in healthy rabbits. Additional studies are needed to assess use of this procedure in rabbits of other breeds and its efficacy for clinical use. (Am J Vet Res 2020;81:843-848)

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To investigate use of a candidate maxillary nerve block in rabbits.

ANIMALS

13 healthy New Zealand White rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus).

PROCEDURES

In phase 1, the maxillary nerve block procedure was performed in 7 sedated rabbits with 2 volumes (0.25 and 0.5 mL) of a saline (0.9% NaCl)-tissue marker dye solution (1 injection/side by random assignment). Rabbits were euthanized and dissected; numeric scales were used to rate injection accuracy and extent of staining. In phase 2, the nerve block was performed with articaine hydrochloride-epinephrine solution (0.5 mL) on a randomly assigned side in 6 sedated rabbits, with the contralateral side used as a control. Sensory function of the relevant dermatome was tested in triplicate with an algesiometer 0, 30, and 90 minutes after recovery from sedation. Statistical methods were used to compare results between injection volumes (phase 1) and between treated and control sides (phase 2).

RESULTS

In phase 1, dye was in contact with the targeted nerve after 13 of 14 injections. Accuracy and extent of staining did not differ significantly between volumes. In phase 2, algesiometer-applied force tolerance differed significantly between treated and control sides 30 minutes after recovery from sedation (56 to 145 minutes after the nerve block procedure). No adverse effects were detected in either study phase.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

The described technique for a maxillary nerve block was accurate and effective for desensitization of the relevant dermatome as assessed by algesiometry in healthy rabbits. Additional studies are needed to assess use of this procedure in rabbits of other breeds and its efficacy for clinical use. (Am J Vet Res 2020;81:843-848)

Contributor Notes

Dr. Peña's present address is the Department of Avian and Exotic Medicine, Angell Animal Medical Center, Boston, MA 02130.

Dr. Peña was a student at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine at the time of the study.

Address correspondence to Dr. de Matos (rdematos@cornell.edu).