Objective To describe the administration of local anesthetic through wound soaker catheters for post-operative veterinary patients and to characterize complications.
Study design Retrospective study of hospital records.
Animals Records of patients in which a wound soaker catheter was placed post-operatively between November 1, 2004 and July 1, 2006 at a veterinary teaching hospital. Records in which a limb amputation was performed between January 1, 2002 and August 1, 2007 and in which a wound soaker catheter was not placed were reviewed for historic control.
Results A total of 56 cases were identified in which a wound soaker catheter was placed post-operatively including 52 dogs, 2 cats, and 2 goats. Twenty canine cases were identified in which limb amputation was performed and no wound soaker catheter was placed. The majority of surgical procedures for which a wound soaker catheter was placed included thoracic limb amputation (46.4%) and pelvic limb amputation (35.7%). Wound soaker catheters remained in place for an average of 1.6 ± 0.5 days. Feline and caprine patients received intermittent bupivacaine boluses every 6 hours. Canine patients received continuous lidocaine infusions. Complications included disconnection of the catheter from the infusion (7.7%), one seroma, and one suspected lidocaine neurotoxicity. Incisional infections were noted in 3/56 (5.3%) limb amputations with wound soaker catheters placed which was not higher than the incisional infection rate found in the historic control cases 3/20 (15%).
Conclusion and clinical relevance Use of the wound soaker catheter was a viable means of providing local analgesia in post-operative veterinary patients. Studies are needed to evaluate efficacy of pain management, and to further investigate techniques for catheter placement and maintenance which may help to optimize the analgesia achieved using this technique.