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Clinical evaluation of perioperative administration of gabapentin as an adjunct for postoperative analgesia in dogs undergoing amputation of a forelimb

Ann E. Wagner DVM, MS, DACVP, DACVA1, Patrice M. Mich DVM, MS, DABVP2, Samantha R. Uhrig DVM, MS3, and Peter W. Hellyer DVM, MS, DACVA4
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate perioperative administration of gabapentin as an adjunct for analgesia in dogs undergoing amputation of a forelimb.

Design—Randomized, controlled trial.

Animals—30 client-owned dogs.

Procedures—On the day before surgery, a baseline pain evaluation was performed in each dog by use of multiple pain assessment methods. Dogs then received gabapentin (10 mg/kg [4.5 mg/lb], PO, once, followed by 5 mg/kg [2.3 mg/lb], PO, q 12 h for 3 additional days) or a placebo. On the day of surgery, dogs were anesthetized and forelimb amputation was performed. Fentanyl was infused after surgery for 18 to 24 hours; use of other analgesics was allowed. In-hospital pain evaluations were repeated at intervals for 18 hours after surgery, and owners were asked to evaluate daily their dog's activity, appetite, and wound soreness for the first 3 days after discharge from the hospital. Results were analyzed by use of a repeated-measures ANOVA.

Results—Pain evaluation scores did not differ significantly between gabapentin and placebo groups in the hospital or at home after discharge.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—As an adjunct to other analgesics and anesthetics, gabapentin, at the dose and frequency used in this study, did not provide a significant benefit for the management of acute perioperative pain in dogs undergoing forelimb amputation. The small sample size and number of other confounding factors, such as aggressive use of other analgesics, limited the likelihood of detecting a benefit of gabapentin. Other gabapentin doses or dosing regimens warrant further study.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate perioperative administration of gabapentin as an adjunct for analgesia in dogs undergoing amputation of a forelimb.

Design—Randomized, controlled trial.

Animals—30 client-owned dogs.

Procedures—On the day before surgery, a baseline pain evaluation was performed in each dog by use of multiple pain assessment methods. Dogs then received gabapentin (10 mg/kg [4.5 mg/lb], PO, once, followed by 5 mg/kg [2.3 mg/lb], PO, q 12 h for 3 additional days) or a placebo. On the day of surgery, dogs were anesthetized and forelimb amputation was performed. Fentanyl was infused after surgery for 18 to 24 hours; use of other analgesics was allowed. In-hospital pain evaluations were repeated at intervals for 18 hours after surgery, and owners were asked to evaluate daily their dog's activity, appetite, and wound soreness for the first 3 days after discharge from the hospital. Results were analyzed by use of a repeated-measures ANOVA.

Results—Pain evaluation scores did not differ significantly between gabapentin and placebo groups in the hospital or at home after discharge.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—As an adjunct to other analgesics and anesthetics, gabapentin, at the dose and frequency used in this study, did not provide a significant benefit for the management of acute perioperative pain in dogs undergoing forelimb amputation. The small sample size and number of other confounding factors, such as aggressive use of other analgesics, limited the likelihood of detecting a benefit of gabapentin. Other gabapentin doses or dosing regimens warrant further study.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Uhrig's present address is Desert Willow Veterinary Services, 1705 Standpipe Rd, Carlsbad, NM 88221.

Supported by a grant from the Savannah and Barry French Poodle Memorial Fund.

The authors thank Hollie Ellis, Amy Rodriguez, Bill Sullivan, and Tracy Clayton for performing pain evaluations; Dr. James ZumBrunnen for assistance with the statistical analysis; and Drs. Christie Anderson and Susan Plaza for assistance with recruitment of dogs for the study.

Address correspondence to Dr. Wagner (aewagner@colostate.edu).