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Objective

To describe a technique for insertion of a thoracic epidural catheter.

Study Design

Clinical report.

Animals

Dogs (n = 3) undergoing thoracic wall resection and thoracotomy.

Methods

A paramedian approach with cephalic angulation was used to place a 24-g epidural catheter in 3 dogs. Dogs 1 and 2 had left caudal thoracic wall resection and dog 3 had left thoracotomy. In dog 1, the epidural catheter was inserted at L2–L3 intervertebral space and the tip of the catheter advanced to the level of T13 vertebral body. In dog 2, the epidural catheter was inserted at T12–T13 intervertebral space and the tip of the catheter was advanced to the level of T8 vertebral body. In dog 3, the epidural catheter was inserted at T13–L1 intervertebral space and its tip advanced until reaching the vertebral body of T10. All dogs were administered a combination of bupivacaine and morphine through the epidural catheter to provide intra- and postoperative analgesia.

Results

The peridural space was identified and the tip of the catheter was positioned where intended in all dogs. Dog 1 developed transient Horner's syndrome and dog 3 required intraoperative fentanyl during the first part of the procedure.

Conclusion

Paramedian approach with cephalad angulation is a suitable technique to place thoracic epidural catheters in dogs.