Objective: To compare analgesia provided by carprofen and tramadol in dogs after enucleation.
Design: Randomized, masked clinical trial.
Animals: 43 dogs.
Procedures: Client-owned dogs admitted for routine enucleation were randomly assigned to receive either carprofen or tramadol orally 2 hours prior to surgery and 12 hours after the first dose. Dogs were scored for signs of pain at baseline (ie, before carprofen or tramadol administration) and at 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 24, and 30 hours after extubation. Dogs received identical premedication and inhalation anesthesia regimens, including premedication with hydromorphone. If the total pain score was ≥ 9 (maximum possible score of 20), there was a score ≥ 3 in any of 5 behavioral categories (highest score possible per category was 3 or 4), or the visual analog scale (VAS) score was ≥ 35 (maximum possible score of 100) combined with a palpation score > 0, rescue analgesia (hydromorphone) was administered and treatment failure was recorded.
Results: No differences were found in age, sex, or baseline pain scores between groups. Significantly more dogs receiving tramadol required rescue analgesia (6/21), compared with dogs receiving carprofen (1/22). Pain and VAS scores decreased linearly over time. No significant differences were found in pain or VAS scores between groups at any time point (dogs were excluded from analysis after rescue).
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Results of this study suggested that carprofen, with opioid premedication, may provide more effective postoperative analgesia than tramadol in dogs undergoing enucleation.