Objective—To evaluate complications associated
with use of indwelling epidural catheters in dogs in a
Design—Retrospective clinical study.
Animals—81 client-owned dogs.
Procedure—Medical records were reviewed for dogs
in which a 19-gauge epidural catheter was placed percutaneously
at L7-S1 and advanced to the point of
maximum efficacy for pain control (between L7 and
T4, depending on the procedure). Catheters were
used to provide perioperative epidural analgesia during
surgeries that included perineal (n = 6), hind limb
(33), abdominal (43), thoracic (5), forelimb (2), and cervical
Results—Catheters were maintained in situ from 1 to
7 days (mean, 2.3 days; median, 2.0 days). Sixty-four
dogs did not have complications; 17 dogs had minor
complications. Catheter dislodgement was the most
common complication (13/80 [16%] dogs). Catheter
site contamination without inflammation developed in
2 (2.4%) dogs; inflammation at the catheter site
developed in 2 (2.4%) dogs but was not related to
duration of time the catheter was in place.
Complications were not serious and did not require
treatment other than catheter removal. Dogs that dislodged
their catheters were significantly younger
(mean, 2.9 years; median, 2.0 years) than other dogs
(mean, 6.2 years; median, 6.0 years). Dogs that
received femoral fracture repair dislodged their
catheters more often (62.5%) than dogs undergoing
other procedures (10.9%).
Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—The complication
rate associated with temporary epidural catheterization
of dogs appears to be low, and complications
generally are not serious. (J Am Vet Med Assoc