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Pre-anesthetic meperidine: associated vomiting and gastroesophageal reflux during the subsequent anesthetic in dogs


  • This study was presented in part at the 29th Annual Meeting American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists, Phoenix, Arizona, 2004.

DV Wilson, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48864, USA. E-mail:


Objective  To determine the effect of meperidine administered prior to anesthesia on the incidence of vomiting before, and gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and regurgitation during, the subsequent period of anesthesia in dogs.

Study design  Randomized, controlled trial.

Animals  A total of 60 healthy dogs, 4.3 ± 2.3 years old, and weighing 35.5 ± 13.1 kg.

Methods  Dogs were admitted to the study if they were healthy, had no history of vomiting, and were scheduled to undergo elective orthopedic surgery. The anesthetic protocol used was standardized to include thiopental and isoflurane in oxygen. Dogs were randomly selected to receive one of the following pre-medications: morphine (0.66 mg kg−1 IM) with acepromazine (0.044 mg kg−1 IM), meperidine (8.8 mg kg−1 IM) with acepromazine (0.044 mg kg−1 IM) or meperidine alone (8.8 mg kg−1 IM). A sensor-tipped catheter was placed to measure esophageal pH during anesthesia. Gastro-esophageal reflux was judged to have occurred if there was a decrease in esophageal pH below four or an increase above 7.5.

Results  No dogs vomited after the administration of meperidine, but 50% of dogs vomited after the administration of morphine. When compared with morphine, treatment with meperidine alone or combined with acepromazine before anesthesia was associated with a 55% and 27% reduction in absolute risk of developing GER, respectively. Dogs receiving meperidine alone were significantly less sedate than other dogs in the study, and required more thiopental to induce anesthesia. Arterial blood pressure and heart rate were not significantly different between groups at the start of the measurement period. Cutaneous erythema and swelling were evident in four dogs receiving meperidine.

Conclusions and Clinical relevance  Administration of meperidine to healthy dogs prior to anesthesia was not associated with vomiting and tended to reduce the occurrence of GER, but produced less sedation when compared with morphine. Meperidine is not a useful addition to the anesthetic protocol if prevention of GER is desired.