OBJECTIVE To determine whether addition of epinephrine to a lidocaine solution would prolong and potentiate the efficacy of a palmar digital nerve block (PDNB) in horses.
ANIMALS 6 adult horses with naturally occurring forefoot lameness.
PROCEDURES Initially, a PDNB with a 2% lidocaine solution was performed on the affected foot of each horse. Three days later, the PDNB was repeated with a 1% lidocaine solution or a 1% lidocaine solution containing epinephrine (dilution, 1:200,000). After another 3-day washout period, the PDNB was repeated with the treatment opposite that administered for the second PDNB. Gait was analyzed with a computerized lameness analysis system and heart rate and extent of skin sensation between the heel bulbs of the blocked foot were evaluated at predetermined times for 2 hours after each PDNB.
RESULTS Efficacy and duration of the PDNB did not differ significantly between the 2% and 1% lidocaine treatments. The addition of epinephrine to the 1% lidocaine solution improved the efficacy and prolonged the duration of the PDNB. It also resulted in a positive correlation between skin desensitization and amelioration of lameness. Median heart rate remained unchanged throughout the observation period for all 3 treatments. No adverse effects associated with the PDNBs were observed.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Addition of epinephrine (dilution, 1:200,000) to a 1% lidocaine solution improved the efficacy and prolonged the duration of a PDNB in horses with naturally occurring lameness and might be clinically useful for lameness evaluations and standing surgery of the forefoot of horses.