To investigate use of a candidate maxillary nerve block in rabbits.
13 healthy New Zealand White rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus).
In phase 1, the maxillary nerve block procedure was performed in 7 sedated rabbits with 2 volumes (0.25 and 0.5 mL) of a saline (0.9% NaCl)-tissue marker dye solution (1 injection/side by random assignment). Rabbits were euthanized and dissected; numeric scales were used to rate injection accuracy and extent of staining. In phase 2, the nerve block was performed with articaine hydrochloride-epinephrine solution (0.5 mL) on a randomly assigned side in 6 sedated rabbits, with the contralateral side used as a control. Sensory function of the relevant dermatome was tested in triplicate with an algesiometer 0, 30, and 90 minutes after recovery from sedation. Statistical methods were used to compare results between injection volumes (phase 1) and between treated and control sides (phase 2).
In phase 1, dye was in contact with the targeted nerve after 13 of 14 injections. Accuracy and extent of staining did not differ significantly between volumes. In phase 2, algesiometer-applied force tolerance differed significantly between treated and control sides 30 minutes after recovery from sedation (56 to 145 minutes after the nerve block procedure). No adverse effects were detected in either study phase.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
The described technique for a maxillary nerve block was accurate and effective for desensitization of the relevant dermatome as assessed by algesiometry in healthy rabbits. Additional studies are needed to assess use of this procedure in rabbits of other breeds and its efficacy for clinical use. (Am J Vet Res 2020;81:843-848)