Yang, P., Hish, G., Lester, P. A. 2023. Comparison of systemic extended-release buprenorphine and local extended-release bupivacaine-meloxicam as analgesics for laparotomy in mice. JAALAS 62(5), 416–422.

Extended-release (ER) local anesthetics can be used in multi-modal analgesia or in situations in which systemic analgesics may alter animal physiology and thus introduce interpretational confounds. In this study, we compared the analgesic efficacy of an ER buprenorphine formulation with that of a synergistic combination of ER bupivacaine and meloxicam. Female and male CD1 mice were randomly assigned to receive subcutaneous buprenorphine (3.25mg/kg) preemptively, subcutaneous infiltration of bupivacaine???meloxicam (0.03mL at incision closure (bupivacaine, 35mg/kg; meloxicam, 1mg/kg), or saline (10mL/kg SC) after induction of anesthesia. After laparotomy, mice were assessed for changes in daily body weight, rearing frequency, nest consolidation scores, time-to-integrate-nest test (TINT), and response to von Frey testing at 4, 8, 24, 48, and 72h after surgery. Daily weight, nest consolidation scores and rearing frequency were not significantly different among the 3 groups. TINT had fallen significantly response at 24 and 48h after injection in the ER buprenorphine group as compared with the saline and ER bupivacaine-meloxicam groups. Nociceptive thresholds, as assessed with von Frey testing, differed between saline controls and both analgesic groups at 4, 8, 24, 48, and 72 h after surgery. None of the mice in the bupivacaine???meloxicam group developed signs of neurotoxicity, a potential side effect of high-dose local anesthetics. This study demonstrates that local ER bupivacaine???meloxicam may be a useful alternative to systemic, ER buprenorphine for the relief of pain after laparotomy in mice.

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