OBJECTIVE To compare analgesic and gastrointestinal effects of lidocaine and buprenorphine administered to rabbits undergoing ovariohysterectomy.
ANIMALS Fourteen 12-month-old female New Zealand White rabbits.
PROCEDURES Rabbits were assigned to 2 treatment groups (7 rabbits/group). One group received buprenorphine (0.06 mg/kg, IV, q 8 h for 2 days), and the other received lidocaine (continuous rate infusion [CRI] at 100 μg/kg/min for 2 days). Variables, including food and water consumption, fecal output, glucose and cortisol concentrations, and behaviors while in exercise pens, were recorded.
RESULTS Rabbits receiving a lidocaine CRI had significantly higher gastrointestinal motility, food intake, and fecal output and significantly lower glucose concentrations, compared with results for rabbits receiving buprenorphine. Rabbits receiving lidocaine also had a higher number of normal behaviors (eg, sprawling, traveling, and frolicking) after surgery, compared with behaviors such as crouching and sitting that were seen more commonly in rabbits receiving buprenorphine. Both groups had significant weight loss after surgery. Pain scores did not differ significantly between treatment groups. Significant decreases in heart rate and respiratory rate were observed on the day of surgery, compared with values before and after surgery. Rabbits in the lidocaine group had significantly overall lower heart rates than did rabbits in the buprenorphine group.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE A CRI of lidocaine to rabbits provided better postoperative outcomes with respect to fecal output, food intake, and glucose concentrations. Thus, lidocaine appeared to be a suitable alternative to buprenorphine for alleviating postoperative pain with minimal risk of anorexia and gastrointestinal ileus.