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Objective

To evaluate efficacy of a topical epidural analgesia used alone, or in combination with hydromorphone, against a standard pain protocol for the 48 hours immediately after hemilaminectomy.

Study Design

Randomized, blinded, controlled, clinical trial.

Animals

Dogs (n = 30) with thoracolumbar intervertebral disc disease treated with hemilaminectomy.

Methods

Dogs were randomly divided into 3 groups: group 1 received intermittent hydromorphone postoperatively, group 2 received a topical epidural of preservative-free morphine and dexmedetomidine administered via gel foam, group 3 received both forms of analgesia. All dogs were monitored and assessed for pain for 48 hours immediately postoperatively. Data were analyzed using MANOVA and Wilcoxon Rank Sum Tests.

Results

There was a significant temporal difference in treatment groups 1 and 3 when using a 0–10 pain scale (MANOVA, P = .02). There was also a significant difference at the 48th hour postoperatively between groups 1 and 3 (Wilcoxon Rank Sum Test).

Conclusion

Topical epidural of preservative-free morphine and dexmedetomidine administered via gelfoam is not sufficient analgesia alone post hemilaminectomy but in conjunction with other opioid administration may lead to superior pain relief.