OBJECTIVE To compare sedative and mechanical hypoalgesic effects of sublingual administration of 2 doses of detomidine gel to donkeys.
DESIGN Randomized blinded controlled trial.
ANIMALS 6 healthy castrated male donkeys.
PROCEDURES In a crossover study design, donkeys received each of the following sublingual treatments 1 week apart in a randomly assigned order: 1 mL of molasses (D0) or detomidine hydrochloride gel at 20 μg/kg (9 μg/lb; D20) or 40 μg/kg (18 μg/lb; D40). Sedation score (SS), head height above the ground (HHAG), and mechanical nociceptive threshold (MNT) were assessed before and for 180 minutes after treatment. Areas under the effect change-versus-time curves (AUCs) from 0 to 30, 30 to 60, 60 to 120, and 120 to 180 minutes after administration were computed for SS, HHAG, and MNT and compared among treatments.
RESULTS D20 and D40 resulted in greater SS AUCs from 60 to 120 minutes and smaller HHAG AUCs from 30 through 180 minutes than did D0. The D40 resulted in smaller HHAG AUCs from 60 to 120 minutes than did D20. Compared with D0 values, MNT AUCs from 60 to 120 minutes were higher for D20, whereas MNT AUCs from 30 through 180 minutes were higher for D40.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE D20 and D40 induced sedation and mechanical hypoalgesia in donkeys by > 30 minutes after administration, but only sedation was dose dependent. Sublingual administration of detomidine gel at 40 μg/kg may be useful for sedation of standing donkeys prior to potentially painful minor procedures.