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To determine variations in minimal alveolar concentration (MAC) of isoflurane and analgesic and cardiorespiratory effects of lumbosacral epidural administration of 0.25 mg of butorphanol/kg of body weight in dogs.


16 healthy male dogs.


Dogs were anesthetized with isoflurane alone. Eight dogs received butorphanol (group B) and the others an equal volume of isotonic saline solution (group S) administered by a catheter inserted in the lumbosacral epidural space. Isoflurane MAC was determined before and 30 minutes after the epidural injection, along with noxious stimulation to the fore- and hind limbs. Cardiorespiratory variables were recorded prior to and until 120 minutes after epidural administration. At that time, isoflurane anesthesia was ended, and nociception (toe pinch and pin-prick responses) was evaluated for 7 hours. Dogs were observed for 3 days to determine presence of neurologic side effects.


For group-B dogs, isoflurane MAC decreased by 31 ± 8.6% after butorphanol was administered. Cutaneous insensitivity (to pin-prick nociceptive test) persisted for 3 hours after the end of isoflurane anesthesia in group-B dogs. No response was observed to toe pinch stimulation for 80 minutes after anesthesia.


Epidural administration of 0.25 mg of butorphanol/kg in dogs was safe; minimal cardiorespiratory and no neurologic side effects were observed, and analgesia and an isoflurane-sparing effect were apparent.

Clinical Relevance

The short duration of action of epidurally administered butorphanol limits its value for clinical practice. (Am J Vet Res 1996;57:1478-1482)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research