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Comparison of morphine and carprofen administered alone or in combination for analgesia in dogs undergoing ovariohysterectomy

T.B. Dzikiti, K.E. Joubert, L.J. Venter, L.N. Dzikiti

Journal of the South African Veterinary Association; Vol 77, No 3 (2006), 120-126. doi: 10.4102/jsava.v77i3.358

Submitted: 08 June 2006
Published:  08 June 2006


In this study the analgesic efficacy of the pure agonistic opioid morphine and the cyclo-oxygenase type-2-selective carprofen were compared since there is no previous specific comparative study for these two common analgesics. Forty-five bitches undergoing elective ovariohysterectomy were randomly assigned to one of three groups; receiving morphine 0.4 mg/kg bodyweight pre-operatively and 0.2 mg/kg every 4-6 hours thereafter (Morphine group), receiving a once-off carprofen 4 mg/kg injection (Carprofen group) or receiving both morphine and carprofen (MorphCarp group). The dogs were premedicated with acepromazine 0.01 mg/kg and induced with either thiopentone 5-10 mg/kg or propofol 4-6 mg/kg. General anaesthesia was maintained with halothane in oxygen. The degree of pain was assessed over a 24-hour period under blinded conditions using a pain scale modified from the University of Melbourne pain scale and the Glasgow composite pain tool. Physiological parameters such as respiratory rate, pulse rate and body temperature were also assessed over the same time period. There was no significant difference in pain-scores and thus analgesia offered by the three analgesia protocols at any assessment point across the three groups, but there were differences within groups across time points. Baseline total pain-scores were lower than scores at all post-operative points within all three groups. Both morphine and carprofen provided good analgesia without any obvious adverse effects. This study indicates that at the dosages indicated above, carprofen administered on its own produces analgesia equal to that produced by morphine and that the two drugs administered together do not produce better analgesia than either drug administered on its own.

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Author affiliations

T.B. Dzikiti,
K.E. Joubert,
L.J. Venter,
L.N. Dzikiti,


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