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Comparison of carprofen and tramadol for postoperative analgesia in dogs undergoing enucleation

Cherlene DelgadoDepartment of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706.

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Ellison BentleyDepartment of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706.

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Scott HetzelDepartment of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, School of Letters and Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706.

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Lesley J. SmithDepartment of Surgical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706.

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Abstract

Objective—To compare analgesia provided by carprofen and tramadol in dogs after enucleation.

Design—Randomized, masked clinical trial.

Animals—43 dogs.

Procedures—Client-owned dogs admitted for routine enucleation were randomly assigned to receive either carprofen or tramadol orally 2 hours prior to surgery and 12 hours after the first dose. Dogs were scored for signs of pain at baseline (ie, before carprofen or tramadol administration) and at 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 24, and 30 hours after extubation. Dogs received identical premedication and inhalation anesthesia regimens, including premedication with hydromorphone. If the total pain score was ≥ 9 (maximum possible score of 20), there was a score ≥ 3 in any of 5 behavioral categories (highest score possible per category was 3 or 4), or the visual analog scale (VAS) score was ≥ 35 (maximum possible score of 100) combined with a palpation score > 0, rescue analgesia (hydromorphone) was administered and treatment failure was recorded.

Results—No differences were found in age, sex, or baseline pain scores between groups. Significantly more dogs receiving tramadol required rescue analgesia (6/21), compared with dogs receiving carprofen (1/22). Pain and VAS scores decreased linearly over time. No significant differences were found in pain or VAS scores between groups at any time point (dogs were excluded from analysis after rescue).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of this study suggested that carprofen, with opioid premedication, may provide more effective postoperative analgesia than tramadol in dogs undergoing enucleation.

Abstract

Objective—To compare analgesia provided by carprofen and tramadol in dogs after enucleation.

Design—Randomized, masked clinical trial.

Animals—43 dogs.

Procedures—Client-owned dogs admitted for routine enucleation were randomly assigned to receive either carprofen or tramadol orally 2 hours prior to surgery and 12 hours after the first dose. Dogs were scored for signs of pain at baseline (ie, before carprofen or tramadol administration) and at 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 24, and 30 hours after extubation. Dogs received identical premedication and inhalation anesthesia regimens, including premedication with hydromorphone. If the total pain score was ≥ 9 (maximum possible score of 20), there was a score ≥ 3 in any of 5 behavioral categories (highest score possible per category was 3 or 4), or the visual analog scale (VAS) score was ≥ 35 (maximum possible score of 100) combined with a palpation score > 0, rescue analgesia (hydromorphone) was administered and treatment failure was recorded.

Results—No differences were found in age, sex, or baseline pain scores between groups. Significantly more dogs receiving tramadol required rescue analgesia (6/21), compared with dogs receiving carprofen (1/22). Pain and VAS scores decreased linearly over time. No significant differences were found in pain or VAS scores between groups at any time point (dogs were excluded from analysis after rescue).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results of this study suggested that carprofen, with opioid premedication, may provide more effective postoperative analgesia than tramadol in dogs undergoing enucleation.

Contributor Notes

This study was performed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Delgado's present address is Bluepearl Veterinary Partners, 820 W Frontage Rd, Northfield, IL 60093.

Supported by the University of Wisconsin Companion Animal Fund and National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences grant UL1TR000427.

The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Address correspondence to Dr. Bentley (bentleye@svm.vetmed.wisc.edu).