Objective—To determine the dose- and time-dependent changes in analgesia and respiration caused by tramadol administration in red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta).
Animals—30 adult male and female red-eared slider turtles.
Procedures—11 turtles received tramadol at various doses (1, 5, 10, or 25 mg/kg [0.45, 2.27, 4.54, or 11.36 mg/lb], PO; 10 or 25 mg/kg, SC) or a control treatment administered similarly. Degree of analgesia was assessed through measurement of hind limb thermal withdrawal latencies (TWDLs) at 0, 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, 72, and 96 hours after tramadol administration. Nineteen other freely swimming turtles received tramadol PO (5, 10, or 25 mg/kg), and ventilation (VE), breath frequency, tidal volume (VT), and expiratory breath duration were measured.
Results—The highest tramadol doses (10 and 25 mg/kg, PO) yielded greater mean TWDLs 6 to 96 hours after administration than the control treatment did, whereas tramadol administered at 5 mg/kg, PO, yielded greater mean TWDLs at 12 and 24 hours. The lowest tramadol dose (1 mg/kg, PO) failed to result in analgesia. Tramadol administered SC resulted in lower TWDLs, slower onset, and shorter duration of action, compared with PO administration. Tramadol at 10 and 25 mg/kg, PO, reduced the VE at 12 hours by 51% and 67%, respectively, and at 24 through 72 hours by 55% to 62% and 61 % to 70%, respectively. However, tramadol at 5 mg/kg, PO, had no effect on the VE.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Tramadol administered PO at 5 to 10 mg/kg provided thermal analgesia with less respiratory depression than that reported for morphine in red-eared slider turtles.