Indicators of postoperative pain in cats and correlation with clinical criteria

Julie D. Smith From the Department of Small Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine (Smith, Allen, Quandt), and College of Pharmacy (Tackett), University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30505.

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Sheila W. Allen From the Department of Small Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine (Smith, Allen, Quandt), and College of Pharmacy (Tackett), University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30505.

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Jane E. Quandt From the Department of Small Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine (Smith, Allen, Quandt), and College of Pharmacy (Tackett), University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30505.

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Randall L. Tackett From the Department of Small Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine (Smith, Allen, Quandt), and College of Pharmacy (Tackett), University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30505.

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Abstract

Objective

To identify clinical indicators that may help identify postoperative pain in cats after ovariohysterectomy.

Animals

Healthy, laboratory animal source cats.

Procedure

Clinical indicators of pain were identified, and relief from pain in response to butorphanol was studied in 5 groups of cats. 10 cats had 1 hour of general anesthesia only, followed by recovery without additional medication. 10 cats had general anesthesia and ovariohysterectomy, followed by recovery without additional medication. 10 cats had general anesthesia, ovariohysterectomy, and postoperative administration of 0.1 mg of butorphanol/kg of body weight. Another 10 cats had general anesthesia, ovariohysterectomy, and postoperative administration of 0.3 mg butorphanol/kg. 10 cats received 0.1 mg of butorphanol/kg, IM, only. Samples and recorded data were obtained before, during, and after the anesthesia period. Clinical variables measured included heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, rectal temperature, PCV, and blood glucose concentration. Results were compared with changes in norepinephrine, epinephrine, and cortisol concentrations.

Results

Cats that did not receive analgesics had higher cortisol concentration than did cats without surgery and cats that received butorphanol after surgery. Systolic blood pressure measured by ultrasonic Doppler was found to be predictive of cortisol concentration, using a multiple linear regression model.

Conclusions

Cortisol concentration increased in response to surgical stress and pain, and this increase was diminished by use of butorphanol.

Clinical Relevance

Systolic blood pressure was the best clinical predictor of postoperative pain. (Am J Vet Res 1996;209:1674–1678)

Abstract

Objective

To identify clinical indicators that may help identify postoperative pain in cats after ovariohysterectomy.

Animals

Healthy, laboratory animal source cats.

Procedure

Clinical indicators of pain were identified, and relief from pain in response to butorphanol was studied in 5 groups of cats. 10 cats had 1 hour of general anesthesia only, followed by recovery without additional medication. 10 cats had general anesthesia and ovariohysterectomy, followed by recovery without additional medication. 10 cats had general anesthesia, ovariohysterectomy, and postoperative administration of 0.1 mg of butorphanol/kg of body weight. Another 10 cats had general anesthesia, ovariohysterectomy, and postoperative administration of 0.3 mg butorphanol/kg. 10 cats received 0.1 mg of butorphanol/kg, IM, only. Samples and recorded data were obtained before, during, and after the anesthesia period. Clinical variables measured included heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, rectal temperature, PCV, and blood glucose concentration. Results were compared with changes in norepinephrine, epinephrine, and cortisol concentrations.

Results

Cats that did not receive analgesics had higher cortisol concentration than did cats without surgery and cats that received butorphanol after surgery. Systolic blood pressure measured by ultrasonic Doppler was found to be predictive of cortisol concentration, using a multiple linear regression model.

Conclusions

Cortisol concentration increased in response to surgical stress and pain, and this increase was diminished by use of butorphanol.

Clinical Relevance

Systolic blood pressure was the best clinical predictor of postoperative pain. (Am J Vet Res 1996;209:1674–1678)

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