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The challenge of evaluating pain and a pre-incisional local anesthetic block

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Background. Our objective was to test the effectiveness of a local anesthetic line block administered before surgery in reducing postoperative pain scores in dogs undergoing ovariohysterectomy (OVHX). Methods. This study is a prospective, randomized, blinded, clinical trial involving 59 healthy female dogs. An algometric pressure-measuring device was used to determine nociceptive threshold, and compared to three subjective pain scales. Group L/B received a line block of lidocaine (4 mg/kg) and bupivacaine (1 mg/kg) subcutaneously in the area of the incision site and saline subcutaneously as premedication; group L/BM (positive control) received a similar block and morphine (0.5 mg/kg) subcutaneously for premedication; and group SS (negative control) received a saline line block and saline premedication. Criteria for rescue analgesia were defined before the study. Dogs were assessed prior to surgery, at extubation (time 0) and at 2, 4, 6, 8 and 24 h post-recovery. The data were analyzed with one-way ANOVA, and a Split Plot Repeated Measures ANOVA with one grouping factor and one repeat factor (time). P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results. Approximately 33% of dogs required rescue analgesia at some point during the study, with no significant difference between groups. There was no significant difference between treatment groups with any assessment method. Conclusions. As there were no statistically significant differences between positive and negative controls, the outcome of this technique cannot be proven.

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