Survey of how different groups of veterinarians manage the use of neuromuscular blocking agents in anesthetized dogs

Published:March 22, 2018DOI:



      To analyze practice habits associated with the use, reversal and monitoring of nondepolarizing neuromuscular blocking agents (NMBAs) in dogs by different groups of veterinarians.

      Study design

      Online anonymous survey to veterinarians.


      Data from 390 answered surveys.


      A questionnaire was sent to e-mail list servers of the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia (ACVAA-list), Sociedad Española de Anestesia y Analgesia Veterinaria (SEEAV-list), Colégio Brasileiro de Anestesiologia Veterinária (Brazilian College of Veterinary Anesthesiology; CBAV-list) and American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (ACVO-list) to elicit information regarding use of NMBAs and reversal agents, monitoring techniques, criteria for redosing, reversing and assessing adequacy of recovery of neuromuscular function. Binomial logistic regression was used to test for association between responses and group of veterinarians in selected questions.


      Veterinarians of the ACVO-list use NMBAs on a higher fraction of their caseload than other groups (all p < 0.0001). Subjective assessment (observation) of spontaneous movement, including spontaneous breathing, is the most common method for assessing neuromuscular function (43% of pooled responses); 18% of participants always reverse NMBAs, whereas 16% never reverse them. Restoration of neuromuscular function is assessed subjectively by 35% of respondents. Residual neuromuscular block is the most common concern regarding the use of NMBAs for all groups of veterinarians. Side effects of reversal agents (anticholinesterases) were of least concern for all groups.

      Conclusions and clinical relevance

      While most veterinarians are concerned about residual neuromuscular block, relatively few steps are implemented to reduce the risks of this complication, such as routine use of quantitative neuromuscular monitoring or routine reversal of NMBAs. These results suggest a limitation in transferring information among groups of veterinarians, or in implementing techniques suggested by scientific research.


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