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Objective—To evaluate the microcrystalline sodium urate (MSU) method for inducing arthritis in parrots and to compare the analgesic efficacy of long-acting liposome-encapsulated butorphanol (LEBT), carprofen, or a combination of both.
Animals—20 Hispaniolan parrots.
Procedures—MSU was injected into a tibiotarsal-tarsometatarsal (intertarsal) joint to induce arthritis (time 0). Four treatments were compared (LEBT [15 mg/kg, SC] administered once at time 0; injections of carprofen [3 mg/kg, IM, q 12 h] starting at time 0; administration of LEBT plus carprofen; and a control treatment of saline [0.9% NaCl] solution). Weight load testing and behavioral scoring were conducted at 0, 2, 6, 26, and 30 hours.
Results—Injection of MSU into the intertarsal joint induced arthritis, which resolved within 30 hours. Treatment with LEBT or LEBT plus carprofen resulted in significantly greater weight-bearing load on the limb with induced arthritis, compared with the control treatment. Treatment with carprofen alone caused a slight but nonsignificant improvement in weight-bearing load on the arthritic limb, compared with the control treatment. Behaviors associated with motor activity and weight bearing differed between the control and analgesic treatments.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Butorphanol was an effective treatment for pain associated with arthritis, but carprofen administered every 12 hours was insufficient. Injection of MSU to induce arthritis in a single joint was a good method for evaluating tonic pain in parrots, and measurement of the weight-bearing load was accurate for assessment of arthritic pain; however, behavioral changes associated with pain were subtle.