Kluge, K., Larenza Menzies, M. P., Kloeppel, H. et al. 2017. Femoral and sciatic nerve blockades and incision site infiltration in rabbits undergoing stifle joint arthrotomy. Laboratory Animals 51(1), 54-64.
This study was designed to determine whether perineural injections of local anaesthetics decreases intraoperative nociception and improves postoperative analgesia in New Zealand White rabbits undergoing experimental stifle arthrotomy. All animals were anaesthetized using isoflurane and received morphine intramuscularly. The sciatic and femoral nerves of the leg to be operated on were located using a nerve stimulator (1 Hz, 0.5 mA). Rabbits were assigned to a treatment group (LB; n ¼ 12) or a placebo group (P; n ¼ 12) in a randomized blinded fashion. Group LB received lidocaine 2% (1 mg/kg) combined with bupivacaine 0.5% (0.25 mg/kg) injections around the sciatic and femoral nerves (0.1 mL/kg total volume per site) and subcutaneous infiltration of the incision site with lidocaine 1% (1.25 mg/kg). Group P received the same volume of 0.9% NaCl. Rabbits in group P required higher doses of intraoperative fentanyl and propofol to reduce heart rate and suppress increase in systolic blood pressure, and maintain an adequate anaesthetic plane. Interventional analgesia (buprenorphine and carprofen) was required significantly earlier in rabbits in group P (2 and 6 h after the first nerve blockade, respectively) based on assessment of their pain-related behaviour and range of motion. Using a visual analogue scale (0 mm¼ no pain to 100 mm¼ maximal possible pain), rabbits in group LB were judged to show significantly less pain compared with rabbits in group P (14 10 mm and 37 25 mm, respectively) 2 h after nerve blockade. In conclusion, this technique of perineural analgesia combined with incision site infiltration reduced intraoperative fentanyl requirements and improved postoperative analgesia in rabbits.