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Comparison of carprofen and meloxicam for 72 hours following ovariohysterectomy in dogs


Elizabeth A Leece, The Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB87UU, UK. E-mail:


Objective  To compare the peri- and post-operative (72 hours) analgesic effects of injectable and orally administered carprofen and meloxicam for ovariohysterectomy in dogs.

Study design  Prospective, randomized clinical study.

Animals  Forty-three dogs undergoing elective ovariohysterectomy.

Materials and methods  Dogs were randomly assigned to receive pre-operative carprofen, meloxicam or sterile saline by subcutaneous injection. Pre-anaesthetic medication was intramuscular acepromazine (0.02 mg kg−1) and methadone (0.2 mg kg−1). Anaesthesia was induced with either thiopentone or propofol injected to effect, and maintained with isoflurane in oxygen. Visual analogue scores (VAS) for pain and sedation were recorded at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 hours following tracheal extubation. Oral medication with the same treatment was continued post-operatively for 3 days, with VAS scores for pain being recorded before, and 2 hours after treatment on each day. Differences between group age, body mass, duration of general anaesthesia, time from treatment injection to tracheal extubation and time from treatment injection to first oral treatment were analysed using one-way analysis of variance and Kruskal–Wallis test. Visual analogue scores for pain and sedation were analysed using a re-randomization method. The significance level was set at p < 0.05.

Results  Meloxicam-treated subjects had lower mean VAS than the control group at 2 and 6 hours following tracheal extubation. Control group VAS were more varied than meloxicam scores (at 6 hours) and carprofen scores (at 3 and 6 hours). On the first post-operative day, pre- to post-treatment VAS scores decreased significantly after meloxicam. On day 3, scores in the meloxicam-treated group were significantly lower than control values after treatment. Changes in pre- to post-treatment VAS were greater in animals receiving either meloxicam or carprofen compared with those given saline.

Conclusions and clinical relevance  Both carprofen and meloxicam provided satisfactory analgesia for 72 hours following ovariohysterectomy in dogs.

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