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Use of low doses of ketamine administered by constant rate infusion as an adjunct for postoperative analgesia in dogs.

Author(s): Wagner AE, Walton JA, Hellyer PW, Gaynor JS, Mama KR.

Affiliation(s): Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523, USA.

Publication date & source: 2002, J Am Vet Med Assoc. , 221(1):72-5

OBJECTIVE: To compare indicators of postoperative pain and behavior in dogs with and without a low-dose ketamine infusion added to usual perioperative management. DESIGN: Prospective, randomized, blinded clinical study. ANIMALS: 27 dogs undergoing forelimb amputation. PROCEDURE: Dogs were anesthetized with glycopyrrolate, morphine, propofol, and isoflurane. Thirteen dogs were treated with ketamine IV, as follows: 0.5 mg/kg (0.23 mg/lb) as a bolus before surgery, 10 microg/kg/min (4.5 microg/lb/min) during surgery, and 2 microg/kg/min (0.9 microg/lb/min) for 18 hours after surgery. Fourteen dogs received the same volume of saline (0.9% NaCl) solution. All dogs received an infusion of fentanyl (1 to 5 microg/kg/h [0.45 to 2.27 pg/lb/h]) for the first 18 hours after surgery. Dogs were evaluated for signs of pain before surgery, at the time of extubation, and 1, 2, 3, 4, 12, and 18 hours after extubation. Owners evaluated their dogs' appetite, activity, and wound soreness on postoperative days 2, 3, and 4. RESULTS: Dogs that received ketamine infusions had significantly lower pain scores 12 and 18 hours after surgery and were significantly more active on postoperative day 3 than dogs that received saline solution infusions. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Results suggest that perioperative administration of low doses of ketamine to dogs may augment analgesia and comfort in the postoperative surgical period.

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