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To determine the effects of morphine on histamine release from 2 canine mast cell tumor (MCT) cell lines and on plasma histamine concentrations in dogs with cutaneous MCTs.


10 dogs with cutaneous MCT and 10 dogs with soft tissue sarcoma (STS).


The study consisted of 2 phases. First, 2 canine MCT cell lines were exposed to 3 pharmacologically relevant morphine concentrations, and histamine concentrations were determined by an ELISA. Second, dogs with MCT or STS received 0.5 mg of morphine/kg, IM, before surgery for tumor excision. Clinical signs, respiratory rate, heart rate, arterial blood pressure, rectal temperature, and plasma histamine concentrations were recorded before and 5, 15, 30, and 60 minutes after morphine administration but prior to surgery. Data were compared by use of a 2-way ANOVA with the Sidak multiple comparisons test.


In the first phase, canine MCT cell lines did not release histamine when exposed to pharmacologically relevant morphine concentrations. In the second phase, no differences were noted for heart rate, arterial blood pressure, and rectal temperature between MCT and STS groups. Plasma histamine concentrations did not significantly differ over time within groups and between groups.


No significant changes in histamine concentrations were noted for both in vitro and in vivo study phases, and no hemodynamic changes were noted for the in vivo study phase. These preliminary results suggested that morphine may be used safely in some dogs with MCT.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research