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Keywords:

  • analgesia;
  • analgesics;
  • attitudes;
  • NSAIDs;
  • opioids

Abstract

Objective

The objective of this study was to assess the use of analgesics, describe the attitudes of Brazilian veterinarians towards pain relief in horses and cattle and evaluate the differences due to gender, year of graduation and type of practice.

Study design

Prospective survey.

Methods

Questionnaires were sent to 1000 large animal veterinarians by mail, internet and delivered in person during national meetings. The survey investigated the attitudes of Brazilian veterinarians to the recognition and treatment of pain in large animals and consisted of sections asking about demographic data, use of analgesic drugs, attitudes to pain relief and to the assessment of pain. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze frequencies. Simple post hoc comparisons were performed using the chi-square test.

Results

Eight hundred questionnaires were collected, but 87 were discarded because they were incomplete or blank. The opioid of choice for use in large animals was butorphanol (43.4%) followed by tramadol (39%). Flunixin (83.2%) and ketoprofen (67.6%) were the most frequently used NSAIDs by Brazilian veterinarians. Respondents indicated that horses received preoperative analgesics for laparotomy more frequently (72.9%) than cattle (58.5%). The most frequently administered preoperative drugs for laparotomy in horses were flunixin (38.4%) and xylazine (23.6%), whereas the preoperative drugs for the same surgical procedure in cattle were xylazine (31.8%) and the local administration of lidocaine (48%). Fracture repair was considered the most painful surgical procedure for both species. Most veterinarians (84.1%) believed that their knowledge in this area was not adequate.

Conclusions and clinical relevance

Although these Brazilian veterinarians thought that their knowledge on recognition and treatment of pain was not adequate, the use of analgesic in large animals was similar in Brazil to that reported in other countries.