Antinociceptive effect of buprenorphine and evaluation of the nociceptive withdrawal reflex in foals.

Risberg, Ase I; Spadavecchia, Claudia; Ranheim, Birgit; Hendrickson, Eli Hs; Lervik, Andreas; Haga, Henning A (2014). Antinociceptive effect of buprenorphine and evaluation of the nociceptive withdrawal reflex in foals. Veterinary anaesthesia and analgesia, 42(3), pp. 329-338. Blackwell Science 10.1111/vaa.12205

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OBJECTIVE To elicit and evaluate the NWR (nociceptive withdrawal reflex) in 2 and 11 day old foals, to investigate if buprenorphine causes antinociception and determine if the NWR response changes with increasing age. The effect of buprenorphine on behaviour was also evaluated. STUDY DESIGN Prospective, experimental cross-over trial. ANIMALS Nine Norwegian Fjord research foals. METHODS Buprenorphine, 10 μg kg(-1) was administered intramuscularly (IM) to the same foal at 2 days and at 11 days of age. The NWR and the effect of buprenorphine were evaluated by electromyograms recorded from the left deltoid muscle following electrical stimulation of the left lateral palmar nerve at the level of the pastern. Mentation, locomotor activity and respiratory rate were recorded before and after buprenorphine administration. RESULTS We were able to evoke the NWR and temporal summation in foals using this model. Buprenorphine decreased the root mean square amplitude following single electrical stimulation (p < 0.001) in both age groups, and increased the NWR threshold following single electrical stimulation in 2 day old foals (p = 0.0012). Repeated electrical stimulation at 2 Hz was more effective to elicit temporal summation compared to 5 Hz (p < 0.001). No effect of age upon the NWR threshold was found (p = 0.34). Sedation when left undisturbed (11 occasions), increased locomotor activity when handled (9 occasions) and tachypnea (13 occasions) were common side-effects of buprenorphine. CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE These findings indicate that buprenorphine has antinociceptive effect in foals. Opioid side effects often recognized in adult horses also occur in foals.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Research Foci > NeuroCenter
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > DKV - Anaesthesiology

UniBE Contributor:

Spadavecchia, Claudia


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Blackwell Science




Helene Rohrbach

Date Deposited:

17 Dec 2014 16:40

Last Modified:

26 Jun 2016 01:56

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

buprenorphine, electromyogram, foals, nociceptive threshold, nocieptive withdrawal reflex




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