Objective—To evaluate the extent and duration of analgesic effects of tramadol hydrochloride administered epidurally in standing healthy adult cattle.
Animals—5 mixed-breed adult female cattle.
Procedures—1, 2, or 3 mg of tramadol/kg was injected into the first intercoccygeal space of each cow in random order at 1-week intervals. Analgesia, sedation, and ataxia were scored on scales of 0 (no effect) to 3 (complete analgesia or extreme sedation or ataxia) at 5-minute intervals beginning 5 minutes prior to injection and ending 120 minutes after injection. Analgesia was evaluated on the basis of response to pinprick stimuli over 9 caudal regions. Heart rate, respiratory rate, rectal temperature, and rumen motility were assessed 5 minutes before and at predetermined intervals for 120 minutes after tramadol injection.
Results—Analgesia induced via tramadol administration was dose dependent (eg, mean duration of complete analgesia at the perineum was 18 minutes when cows received the 1 mg/kg dose, 60 minutes when cows received the 2 mg/kg dose, and 92 minutes when cows received the 3 mg/kg dose). Slight to mild sedation and ataxia were observed when cows received 2 or 3 mg of tramadol/kg. No significant tramadol-associated changes in heart rate, respiratory rate, rectal temperature, or rumen motility were detected.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Caudal epidural tramadol administration induced analgesia with slight to mild sedation and ataxia in cows. Analgesia in affected regions after administration of 2 or 3 mg of tramadol/kg was considered sufficient to allow common surgical procedures to be performed in standing cattle.