Objective—To investigate tissue diffusion of anesthetic agent following administration of low palmar nerve blocks (LPBs) in horses.
Design—Randomized clinical trial.
Animals—12 adult horses.
Procedures—In 9 horses, mepivacaine hydrochloride–iohexol (50:50 dilution) injections were administered bilaterally (2 or 4 mL/site) to affect the medial and lateral palmar and palmar metacarpal nerves (4 sites). Lateral radiographic views of both metacarpal regions were obtained before and at 5, 15, 30, 60, 90, and 120 minutes after block administration; proximal and distal extents of contrast medium (and presumably anesthetic agent) diffusion from palmar and palmar metacarpal injection sites were measured and summed to determine total diffusion. Methylene blue solution was injected in forelimbs of 3 other horses that were subsequently euthanized to determine the potential route of anesthetic agent diffusion to the proximal suspensory ligament region.
Results—Mean extents of proximal and total contrast medium diffusion were 4.0 and 6.6 cm, respectively, for the palmar metacarpal nerves and 4.3 and 7.1 cm, respectively, for the palmar nerves. Subtle proximal diffusion secondary to lymphatic drainage was evident in 17 of the 18 limbs. Contrast medium was detected in the metacarpophalangeal joint or within the digital flexor tendon sheath in 8 and 7 limbs, respectively. In the cadaver limbs, methylene blue solution did not extend to the proximal suspensory ligament region.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In horses, LPBs resulted in minimal proximal diffusion of anesthetic agent from the injection sites. Limbs should be aseptically prepared prior to LPB administration because inadvertent intrasynovial injection may occur.
PROCEDURES Baseline rectal temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate were recorded prior to premedication with buprenorphine (0.02 mg/kg, IM) and acepromazine (0.05 mg/kg, IM). Anesthesia was induced with midazolam or diazepam (0.25 mg/kg, IV) plus ketamine (5 mg/kg, IV; n = 11) or propofol (4 mg/kg, IV; 12) and maintained with isoflurane in oxygen. Rectal temperature was measured at hospital intake, prior to premedication, immediately after anesthetic induction, and every 5 minutes after anesthetic induction. Esophageal temperature was measured every 5 minutes during anesthesia, beginning 30 minutes after anesthetic induction. After anesthesia, dogs were covered with a warm-air blanket and rectal temperature was measured every 10 minutes until normothermia (37°C) was achieved.
RESULTS Dogs in both treatment groups had lower rectal temperatures within 5 minutes after anesthetic induction and throughout anesthesia. Compared with dogs that received a benzodiazepine plus ketamine, dogs that received a benzodiazepine plus propofol had significantly lower rectal temperatures and the interval from discontinuation of anesthesia to achievement of normothermia was significantly longer.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Dogs in which anesthesia was induced with a benzodiazepine plus propofol or ketamine became hypothermic; the extent of hypothermia was more profound for the propofol combination. Dogs should be provided with adequate heat support after induction of anesthesia, particularly when a propofol-benzodiazepine combination is administered.