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  • Author or Editor: Erja K. Kuusela x
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Objective—To identify variables and evaluate methods for assessing chronic pain in dogs.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—41 dogs with canine hip dysplasia (CHD), and 24 apparently healthy dogs with no history of pain.

Procedure—2 veterinarians evaluated the dogs' locomotion and signs of pain. Owners of dogs with CHD and control dogs answered a questionnaire regarding their dogs' demeanor, behavior, and locomotion (descriptive scales) and assessed pain and locomotion (visual analog scales). Plasma concentrations of several stress-related hormones were determined, and 13 radiologic variables were assessed in affected hip joints.

Results—For many of the questions, answers provided by owners of dogs with CHD differed significantly from those of owners of control dogs. Stress hormone concentrations differed significantly between dogs with CHD and controls, but individual variation was too great for them to be of value in pain assessment. None of the radiologic variables examined correlated well with owner or veterinarian pain scores.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Chronic pain could be assessed in dogs with CHD through completion of the study questionnaire by a person familiar with the pet (eg, owner) after receiving appropriate education in its use. Eleven variables were identified as being potentially useful in assessment of chronic pain in dogs. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222: 1552–1558)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To compare the effects of pretreatment with dexamethasone, physical stress (exercise), or both on sedation and plasma hormone and glucose concentrations in dogs treated with dexmedetomidine (DEX).

Animals—6 healthy purpose-bred Beagles.

Procedure—Dogs received 4 treatments each in a randomized order prior to IV administration of DEX (5 µg/kg). Pretreatments were as follows: (1) IV administration of saline (0.9% NaCl) solution and no exercise (control group); (2) IV administration of dexamethasone (0.05 mg/kg) and no exercise (DM group); (3) IV administration of saline solution and exercise (EX group; 15 minutes of trotting on a treadmill at a speed of 2 m/s); and 4) IV administration of dexamethasone and exercise (DM+EX group).

Results—Following DEX administration, all dogs had similar times to recumbency and sedation index values, irrespective of pretreatment with dexamethasone or exercise. Plasma catecholamine concentrations decreased after DEX administration. Compared with control group dogs, plasma cortisol concentrations were higher in EX-group dogs prior to DEX administration and lower in DM- and DM+EX-group dogs following DEX administration. Administration of DEX decreased plasma cortisol concentration in EX-group dogs only. Plasma glucose concentration was not influenced by exercise or dexamethasone administration but was lower than baseline concentrations at 30 minutes after DEX administration and returned to baseline values by 90 minutes. Heart and respiratory rates and rectal temperature increased during exercise. After DEX administration, these values decreased below baseline values. The decrease in heart rate was of shorter duration in dogs that underwent pretreatment with dexamethasone, exercise, or both than in control group dogs

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Pretreatment with dexamethasone, moderate physical stress (exercise), or both did not influence sedation or cause adverse effects in healthy dogs treated with DEX. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:260–265)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research