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Objective—To evaluate the effects of epidural administration of 3 doses of dexmedetomidine on isoflurane minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) and characterize changes in bispectral index (BIS) induced by nociceptive stimulation used for MAC determination in dogs.

Animals—6 adult dogs.

Procedures—Isoflurane-anesthetized dogs received physiologic saline (0.9% NaCl) solution (control treatment) or dexmedetomidine (1.5 [DEX1.5], 3.0 [DEX3], or 6.0 [DEX6] μg/kg) epidurally in a crossover study. Isoflurane MAC (determined by use of electrical nociceptive stimulation of the hind limb) was targeted to be accomplished at 2 and 4.5 hours. Changes in BIS attributable to nociceptive stimulation and cardiopulmonary data were recorded at each MAC determination.

Results—With the control treatment, mean ± SD MAC values did not change over time (1.57 ± 0.23% and 1.55 ± 0.25% at 2 and 4.5 hours, respectively). Compared with the control treatment, MAC was significantly lower at 2 hours (13% reduction) but not at 4.5 hours (7% reduction) in DEX1.5-treated dogs and significantly lower at 2 hours (29% reduction) and 4.5 hours (13% reduction) in DEX3-treated dogs. The DEX6 treatment yielded the greatest MAC reduction (31% and 22% at 2 and 4.5 hours, respectively). During all treatments, noxious stimulation increased BIS; but changes in BIS were correlated with increases in electromyographic activity.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In dogs, epidural administration of dexmedetomidine resulted in dose-dependent decreases in isoflurane MAC and that effect decreased over time. Changes in BIS during MAC determinations may not represent increased awareness because of the possible interference of electromyographic activity.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research