Opioid requirements after locoregional anaesthesia in dogs undergoing tibial plateau levelling osteotomy: a pilot study

Published:February 03, 2021DOI:



      To determine the intraoperative and early postoperative opioid requirement after ultrasound-guided sciatic and/or femoral nerve block or epidural anaesthesia in dogs undergoing tibial plateau levelling osteotomy (TPLO).

      Study design

      Prospective, masked, pilot, randomized, clinical trial.


      A total of 40 client-owned dogs undergoing TPLO.


      Each dog was randomly assigned to group SF (combined sciatic and femoral nerve block), group S (sciatic nerve block), group F (femoral nerve block) or group E (epidural anaesthesia). A total of 0.3 mL kg–1 of ropivacaine 0.5% was administered to each nerve or in the epidural space. Intraoperatively, fentanyl (2 μg kg–1) was administered intravenously when heart rate, mean arterial pressure or respiratory rate increased by >30% compared with baseline values. Postoperatively, a visual analogue scale (VAS) and a modified German version of the French pain scale (4AVet) were used to assess pain every 30 minutes for 150 minutes and again once the morning after surgery. Methadone (0.1 mg kg–1) was administered intravenously if the VAS was ≥ 4 cm [maximal value 10 cm; median (interquartile range)] or the composite pain score was ≥5 [maximal value 15; median (interquartile range)]. Significance was defined as p ≤ 0.05.


      Groups SF and E required less total intraoperative and early postoperative opioid doses compared with groups S and F (p = 0.031). No dogs in group SF had a block failure or required postoperative methadone. A reduced methadone requirement was found in group SF compared with all the other groups up to 150 minutes after recovery (p = 0.041).

      Conclusions and clinical relevance

      Combined sciatic and femoral nerve block and epidural anaesthesia lead to less cumulative consumption of perioperative opioids than single nerve blockade. Sciatic or femoral nerve block alone might be insufficient to control nociception and early postoperative pain in dogs undergoing TPLO.


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