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Effects of adjunct electroacupuncture on severity of postoperative pain in dogs undergoing hemilaminectomy because of acute thoracolumbar intervertebral disk disease

Annina Laim Dr med vet1, André Jaggy Dr med vet, PhD2, Franck Forterre Dr med vet3, Marcus G. Doherr Dr med vet, PhD4, Gina Aeschbacher Dr med vet5, and Olivier Glardon Dr med vet6
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, 3001 Berne, Switzerland.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, 3001 Berne, Switzerland.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, 3001 Berne, Switzerland.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, 3001 Berne, Switzerland.
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, 3001 Berne, Switzerland.
  • | 6 Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Berne, 3001 Berne, Switzerland.

Abstract

Objective—To compare severity of postoperative pain in dogs undergoing hemilaminectomy because of acute thoracolumbar intervertebral disk disease treated with a combination of conventional analgesics and electroacupuncture (EAP) or with conventional analgesics alone.

Design—Controlled clinical trial.

Animals—15 dogs undergoing surgery because of acute thoracolumbar disk disease.

Procedures—Dogs were alternately assigned to treatment (conventional analgesics and adjunct EAP) and control (conventional analgesics alone) groups. Analgesic treatment was adjusted as necessary by the attending clinician, who was not aware of group assignment. Pain scores were assigned 1, 3, and 12 hours after surgery and every 12 hours thereafter for 72 hours by the same individual who performed acupuncture treatments.

Results—Total dose of fentanyl administered during the first 12 hours after surgery was significantly lower in the treatment group than in the control group, but dosages of analgesics administered from 12 through 72 hours after surgery did not differ between groups. Pain score was significantly lower in the treatment group than in the control group 36 hours after surgery, but did not differ significantly between groups at any other time.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results provided equivocal evidence that adjunct EAP might provide some mild benefit in regard to severity of postoperative pain in dogs undergoing hemilaminectomy because of acute thoracolumbar intervertebral disk disease.

Abstract

Objective—To compare severity of postoperative pain in dogs undergoing hemilaminectomy because of acute thoracolumbar intervertebral disk disease treated with a combination of conventional analgesics and electroacupuncture (EAP) or with conventional analgesics alone.

Design—Controlled clinical trial.

Animals—15 dogs undergoing surgery because of acute thoracolumbar disk disease.

Procedures—Dogs were alternately assigned to treatment (conventional analgesics and adjunct EAP) and control (conventional analgesics alone) groups. Analgesic treatment was adjusted as necessary by the attending clinician, who was not aware of group assignment. Pain scores were assigned 1, 3, and 12 hours after surgery and every 12 hours thereafter for 72 hours by the same individual who performed acupuncture treatments.

Results—Total dose of fentanyl administered during the first 12 hours after surgery was significantly lower in the treatment group than in the control group, but dosages of analgesics administered from 12 through 72 hours after surgery did not differ between groups. Pain score was significantly lower in the treatment group than in the control group 36 hours after surgery, but did not differ significantly between groups at any other time.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results provided equivocal evidence that adjunct EAP might provide some mild benefit in regard to severity of postoperative pain in dogs undergoing hemilaminectomy because of acute thoracolumbar intervertebral disk disease.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Laim's present address is Clinic for Small Animals, Rothusstrasse 2b, 6331 Hünenberg, Switzerland.

The authors thank Dr. J. Howard for writing assistance and Dr. O. Levionnois for providing advice regarding the anesthesia protocol.

Address correspondence to Dr. Laim.