A look through the latest literature - Veterinary Practice
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A look through the latest literature

A summary of the latest academic publications providing further insight into this month’s spotlight topic: anaesthesia and analgesia

Safety and tolerability of escalating cannabinoid doses in healthy cats

Justyna Kulpa and others, Canopy Animal Health, Smith Falls, Ontario

Cannabidiol (CBD), the main non-psychotropic constituent of cannabis, has been shown to reduce pain and increase mobility in canine patients with osteoarthritis. It is also being explored as a potential treatment for other clinical applications in dogs. In contrast, there have been few studies looking at this agent as a potential therapeutic treatment in cats. The authors assessed the safety and tolerability of CBD in healthy cats at doses up to 30.5mg/kg and in combination with the other main cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). They found that any behavioural changes were mild, self-limiting and mainly linked to the presence of THC.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 23, 1162-1175

Efficacy of a topical anaesthetic in controlling pain due to peripheral catheters in cats

Carol Chavez and others, University of the Americas, Santiago, Chile

Placement of a peripheral catheter may be necessary in many situations in veterinary practice, but the process is likely to cause pain and stress in feline patients. The authors investigated the effectiveness of a topical anaesthetic cream in reducing stress in cats when inserting a cephalic catheter. When the lidocaine-prilocaine cream was applied 30 minutes before venepuncture there was a significant reduction in those behaviours associated with pain. The authors suggest that administering a topical anaesthetic to cats before peripheral catheter placement would be feasible in non-emergency cases.

Journal of Veterinary Behavior, 46, 15-17

Pre-emptive intra-articular anaesthesia in dogs undergoing arthroscopy

Federica Brioschi and others, San Francesco Veterinary Hospital, Milan

Intra-articular drug administration may have certain advantages over peripheral nerve blocks in controlling the pain resulting from arthroscopic surgery. However, there is limited data in veterinary literature comparing the results with different local anaesthetic agents. The authors examined the quality of analgesia achieved with the pre-emptive administration of lidocaine, dexmedetomidine and a combination of the two drugs. Their findings suggest that dexmedetomidine alone or in combination provided better intraoperative analgesia than lidocaine.

The Veterinary Journal, 276, 105730

Pharmacopuncture with low-dose hydromorphone during bitch spays

Elizabeth Scallan and others, Texas A&M University, College Station

Pharmacopuncture is a form of acupuncture that shows potential as a pain management tool in veterinary practice. It involves the administration of an analgesic drug, at clinical or subclinical doses, into an acupuncture point with a small gauge needle and syringe. The authors administered low-dose hydromorphone (0.1mg/kg bwt) at the Governing Vessel 20 location in 50 clinically healthy bitches undergoing ovariohysterectomy. Their findings show that pharmacopuncture provided adequate post-operative analgesia for these patients with reduced sedative effects. The method would be useful in situations where a reduced dose of opioids is recommended.

Canadian Veterinary Journal, 62, 1104-1110

Duration of skin desensitisation following palmar digital nerve blocks in horses

Michaela Harcourt and others, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia

Perineural anaesthesia or nerve blocks are a valuable tool for localising the origins of lameness in horses. Knowledge of the onset and duration of desensitisation achieved may be helpful in selecting the appropriate agent for a specific procedure. The authors compared the effects of four different agents – lidocaine, bupivacaine, mepivacaine and prilocaine – used for palmar nerve blocks. Their results indicate that the onset of desensitisation was similar for each group at less than five minutes. Lidocaine provided a shorter duration of action than the other three agents while prilocaine and mepivacaine were both active for longer than bupivacaine.

Australian Veterinary Journal, 99, 541-546

Pharmacokinetics of paracetamol in Thoroughbred racehorses

Bogumila Pesko and others, LGC Fordham, Cambridgeshire

Paracetamol is a widely used and effective analgesic/antipyretic drug in human medicine and has been found to be a useful treatment for painful conditions in horses. However, there is little published data on the pharmacokinetics of this agent in equine blood and urine. This would help guide decisions on treatment of racehorses, in which it would be considered a prohibited substance. The findings suggest that the ratio between residues of paracetamol and its structural isomer orthocetamol could be used to distinguish between samples from treated horses and those exposed to environmental contamination due to orthocetamol in feed.

Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 45, 541-546

Use of maropitant, lidocaine and ketamine in cats undergoing ovariohysterectomy

Janaina Maria Correa and others, State University of Santa Cruz, Brazil

Multimodal analgesia using a combination of drugs at low doses is used widely in human patients undergoing major surgical procedures. However, there are few published studies examining continuous infusions of combinations of analgesic drugs in cats. The authors compared the effects of using maropitant, lidocaine and ketamine alone or in combination in cats undergoing ovariohysterectomy. Continuous infusions of the three agents given individually provided good-quality analgesia and there were no significant benefits in using combinations of these drugs.

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 63, 49

Comparison of mepivacaine and lidocaine/epinephrine used as nerve blocks in horses

Sophie Boorman and others, Auburn University, Alabama

Mepivacaine is favoured over lidocaine as a nerve block agent for use in investigating lameness in horses. It is considered to have superior potency and a longer duration of activity. However, in some countries mepivacaine is unavailable or not licensed for use in this species. The authors investigated the quality of median and ulnar nerve blocks in horses induced with a combination of lidocaine and epinephrine. Tested in horses with naturally occurring lameness, they found that the outcomes using the lidocaine/epinephrine combination were equivalent to those with mepivacaine. The combination may therefore be useful in situations where mepivacaine is unavailable.

Veterinary Surgery, 51, 279-285

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