Comparison of premedication with buprenorphine or methadone with meloxicam for postoperative analgesia in dogs undergoing orthopaedic surgery




To determine whether methadone, administered before orthopaedic surgery, results in improved postoperative analgesia compared to buprenorphine.


Thirty-eight dogs undergoing orthopaedic surgeries (the majority being tibial tuberosity advancement or elbow arthrotomy) were premedicated with 0 · 03 mg/kg acepromazine and either 20 µg/kg buprenorphine or 0 · 5 mg/kg methadone, intramuscularly, allocated randomly. Anaesthesia was induced with propofol intravenously to effect and maintained with isoflurane in oxygen. 0 · 2 mg/kg meloxicam was administered at anaesthetic induction. Sedation was assessed by means of a dynamic interactive visual analogue and simple descriptive scales and pain by dynamic interactive visual analogue and the short form Glasgow composite pain scales, by a single observer blinded to treatment group at intervals for 8 hours following premedication.


Sedation scores were higher than baseline in both groups following premedication until the end of the assessment period (P = 0 · 0001), with no differences between groups. Pain scores were lower overall in dogs premedicated with methadone (dynamic interactive visual analogue scale P = 0 · 048; short form Glasgow composite pain scale P = 0 · 0045), and these dogs required less additional analgesia (42%, compared to 79% premedicated with buprenorphine, P = 0 · 045).

Clinical Significance

At the doses investigated, methadone produced superior analgesia to buprenorphine for 8 hours postoperatively in dogs undergoing orthopaedic surgery.