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To compare the analgesic effects of epidural administration of morphine (MOR), bupivacaine hydrochloride (BUP), their combination (COM), and 0.9% sterile NaCl solution (SAL) in dogs undergoing hind limb orthopedic surgeries.


Blinded, randomized clinical trial.


41 healthy dogs admitted for elective orthopedic surgeries involving the pelvis or hind limbs.


Analgesic and control agents were administered postoperatively prior to recovery from isoflurane anesthesia. Ten dogs received MOR, 0.1 mg/ kg of body weight; 10 received BUP, 0.5%, 1 ml/10- cm distance from the occipital protuberance to the lumbosacral space; 11 received COM; and 10 received SAL epidurally. Dogs were monitored for 24 hours after epidural injection for pain score, heart and respiratory rates, blood pressure, time to required administration of supplemental analgesic agent, total number of supplemental doses of analgesic agent required, and plasma concentrations of cortisol, MOR, and BUP.


Pain scores were significantly lower in dogs in the COM and BUP groups than in dogs in the SAL group. Pain scores also were significantly lower in dogs in the COM group than in dogs in the MOR group. Time to required administration of supplemental analgesic agent was longer for dogs in the COM group than for dogs in the MOR and SAL groups. Total number of supplemental doses of analgesic agent required was lower for dogs in the BUP and COM groups than for dogs in the SAL group.

Clinical Implications

Postoperative epidural administration of COM or BUP alone provides longerlasting analgesia, compared with MOR or SAL. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;209:698-607)

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Eighteen dogs undergoing lateral thoracotomy at the left fifth intercostal space were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 postoperative analgesic treatment groups of 6 dogs each as follows: group A, morphine, 1.0 mg/kg of body weight, im; group B, 0.5% bupivacaine, 1.5 mg/kg given interpleurally; and group C, morphine, 1.0 mg/kg given interpleurally. Heart rate, respiratory rate, arterial blood pressure, arterial blood gas tensions, alveolar-arterial oxygen differences, rectal temperature, pain score, and pulmonary mechanics were recorded hourly for the first 8 hours after surgery, and at postoperative hours 12, 24, and 48. These values were compared with preoperative (control) values for each dog. Serum morphine and cortisol concentrations were measured at 10, 20, and 30 minutes, hours 1 to 8, and 12 hours after treatment administration.

All dogs had significant decreases in pHa, PaO2 , and oxygen saturation of hemoglobin, and significant increases in PaCO2 and alveolar-arterial oxygen differences in the postoperative period, but these changes were less severe in group-B dogs. Decreases of 50% in lung compliance, and increases of 100 to 200% in work of breathing and of 185 to 383% in pulmonary resistance were observed in all dogs after surgery. Increases in work of breathing were lower, and returned to preoperative values earlier in group-B dogs. The inspiratory time-to-total respiratory time ratio was significantly higher in group-B dogs during post-operative hours 5 to 8, suggesting improved analgesia. Blood pressure was significantly lower in group-A dogs for the first postoperative hour. Significant decreases in rectal temperature were observed in all dogs after surgery, and hypothermia was prolonged in dogs of groups A and C. Significant differences in pain score were not observed between treatment groups. Cortisol concentration was high in all dogs after anesthesia and surgery, and was significantly increased in group-B dogs at hours 4 and 8. Significant differences in serum morphine concentration between groups A and C were only observed 10 minutes after treatment administration. In general, significant differences in physiologic variables between groups A and C were not observed.

Results of the study indicate that anesthesia and thoracotomy are associated with significant alterations in pulmonary function and lung mechanics. Interpleurally administered bupivacaine appears to be associated with fewer blood gas alterations and earlier return to normal of certain pulmonary function values. Interpleural administration of morphine does not appear to provide any advantages, in terms of analgesia or pulmonary function, compared with its im administration.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research