OBJECTIVE To compare the effectiveness of an ultrasound-guided paravertebral nerve blockade technique (UGPNB) with distal and proximal paravertebral nerve blockade techniques without ultrasound guidance (DPNB and PPNB, respectively) in calves.
ANIMALS 4 calf cadavers and 7 healthy calves.
PROCEDURES A suitable acoustic window was identified to facilitate access to the T13, L1, and L2 spinal nerves in cadavers and live calves. In cadavers, nerves were injected with dye under ultrasound guidance. In calves, the UGPNB, DPNB, and PPNB were performed in random order at 10-day intervals by injection of an anesthetic solution containing 2% lidocaine hydrochloride. Nociceptive withdrawal responses were assessed to determine the effects of the blockades.
RESULTS In cadavers, nerve staining success rates (ie, ≥ 2-cm-long dye path) achieved with ultrasound guidance were 88% (T13 [ventral branch]), 75% (T13 and L1 [dorsal branches] and L1 and L2 [ventral branches]), and 38% (L2 [dorsal branch]). The nerves were each identified as a hyperechoic band in a longitudinal plane. In calves, the UGPNB, DPNB, and PPNB reduced the withdrawal response to the noxious stimulus, mainly in the dorsal-cranial, dorsal-caudal, and ventral-cranial areas of the flank. Overall, the UGPNB resulted in a better nociceptive cumulative score, administering only one half of the local anaesthetic dose, compared with findings for the DPNB and PPNB. However, time to perform the UGPNB was longer.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The UGPNB evaluated may be an improved alternative to the DPNB and PPNB for provision of anesthesia for flank surgery in calves. However, effectiveness of the UGPNB should be evaluated in a clinical setting and in adult cattle.