Postoperative analgesia in dogs receiving epidural morphine plus medetomidine

C. Pacharinsak, S. A. Greene, R. D. Keegan, P. W. Kalivas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


This investigation was carried out to compare the postoperative analgesia and plasma morphine concentrations in dogs given epidural morphine or epidural morphine combined with medetomidine prior to surgery. Twelve dogs (seven males and five females) with ruptured cranial cruciate ligaments presented to the Washington State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Six dogs received an epidural injection of morphine (0.1 mg/kg) and six dogs received epidural morphine (0.1 mg/kg) combined with medetomidine (0.005 mg/kg). Numeric rating scale (NRS) pain scores and cumulative pain scores (CPS) were assigned to 10-min segments of video. Video segments, heart rates and respiratory rates were recorded prior to premedication and at 4, 8, 12, 18 and 24 h after epidural injection. Blood was sampled from the cephalic vein at each of these times and during anesthesia at 0.5, 1, 2 and 3 h after epidural injection. Data were analyzed using either Friedman's test or one-way ANOVA for repeated measures. In the morphine group, significant increases compared with premedication values were detected at 4, 8 and 12 h after epidural injection for NRS and at 4 and 12 h after epidural injection for CPS. In the morphine plus medetomidine group. NRS was significantly higher at 4 and 8 h whereas there were no differences from baseline values for CPS. Plasma morphine concentrations were not significantly different between treatment groups, but were significantly increased compared with preinjection values at 0.5, 1, 12, 18, and 24 h in the morphine plus medetomidine group. Epidurally administered morphine combined with medetomidine was associated with only minor benefits based on subjective pain scoring when compared with morphine alone in these dogs undergoing repair of a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-77
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • veterinary(all)


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