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  • Author or Editor: Dennis T. Crowe x
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Objective—To evaluate complications associated with use of indwelling epidural catheters in dogs in a clinical setting.

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 (1) procedures.

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 2000;216:368–370)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association