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To determine the time of onset and duration of action of distal paravertebral blocks (DPB) in dairy cattle using lidocaine and lidocaine plus xylazine (LX).


10 healthy adult Holstein cows.


Unilateral DPB were performed in 6 cows at L1, L2, and L4. They received 2 treatments (lidocaine and LX) in a blinded random crossover design. Due to treatment failure, 4 additional cows were enrolled. The lidocaine treatment received 1,800 mg (90 mL) of lidocaine, and treatment LX received 1,784 mg (89.2 mL) of lidocaine and 16 mg (0.8 mL) of xylazine. Anesthesia was assessed by response (rapid movements of the tail, directed movements of the feet, or turning of the head towards the site of the needle pricks) to 6 approximately 1-cm deep needle pricks to the paralumbar fossa with a 22-gauge hypodermic needle. The time of onset, duration of action, maximum sedation score, and average heart rate (HR) were compared between treatments.


Duration of anesthesia was significantly prolonged after DPB in cows treated with LX (251.6 ± 96.94 minutes) compared to lidocaine (105.8 ± 35.9 minutes; P = .01). Treatment with LX was associated with significantly lower average heart rate (56 ± 3 beats/min) compared to cows treated with lidocaine (59 ± 3 beats/min; P = .045). The LX treatment was associated with mild sedation but was not significant (P = .063).


The addition of xylazine to a lidocaine DPB provides a longer duration of anesthesia, is inexpensive and practical, and can be implemented with ease.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association