Objective—To evaluate the effects of subarachnoidally administered hyperbaric morphine, buprenorphine, and methadone on avoidance threshold to noxious electrical stimulation of the perineal, sacral, lumbar, and thoracic regions in horses.
Animals—6 healthy adult horses.
Procedures—Horses were assigned to receive subarachnoid administration of hyperbaric morphine (0.01 mg/kg), buprenorphine (0.001 mg/kg), methadone (0.01mg/kg), or 10% dextrose solution in equal volumes (5 mL). Electrical stimulation was applied every 10 minutes for 60 minutes and every 30 minutes for 120 minutes after subarachnoid injection over the dermatomes of the perineal, sacral, lumbar, and thoracic regions, and the avoidance threshold voltage was recorded. Heart and respiratory rate, blood gas tensions, serum electrolyte concentrations, and sedative effects were also evaluated.
Results—Administration of 10% dextrose solution did not change the avoidance threshold. Morphine and methadone significantly increased the avoidance threshold by 10 minutes after injection, which lasted until 120 minutes after subarachnoid administration in the perineal, sacral, lumbar, and thoracic regions. Profound analgesia (avoidance threshold > 40 V) was achieved in all regions. Buprenorphine also significantly increased the avoidance threshold by 10 minutes (36 V) after injection, which lasted 60 minutes and was considered moderate. Heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and blood gas tensions stayed within reference range. No ataxia, signs of sedation, or CNS excitement were observed.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Subarachnoid administration of hyperbaric morphine or methadone produces intense analgesia for 120 minutes over the dermatomes of the perineal, sacral, lumbar, and thoracic areas without cardiorespiratory depression, ataxia, or CNS excitement in horses.