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Can J Vet Res. 2010 Oct;74(4):305-13.

Sensory nerve conduction and nociception in the equine lower forelimb during perineural bupivacaine infusion along the palmar nerves.

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Dipartimento di Patologia Animale, Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy.


The purpose of this investigation was to study lateral palmar nerve (LPN) and medial palmar nerve (MPN) morphology and determine nociception and sensory nerve conduction velocity (SNCV) following placement of continuous peripheral nerve block (CPNB) catheters along LPN and MPN with subsequent bupivacaine (BUP) infusion. Myelinated nerve fiber distribution in LPN and MPN was examined after harvesting nerve specimens in 3 anesthetized horses and processing them for morphometric analysis. In 5 sedated horses, CPNB catheters were placed along each PN in both forelimbs. Horses then received in one forelimb 3 mL 0.125% BUP containing epinephrine 1:200 000 and 0.04% NaHCO(3) per catheter site followed by 2 mL/h infusion over a 6-day period, while in the other forelimb equal amounts of saline (SAL) solution were administered. The hoof withdrawal response (HWR) threshold during pressure loading of the area above the dorsal coronary band was determined daily in both forelimbs. On day 6 SNCV was measured under general anesthesia of horses in each limb's LPN and MPN to detect nerve injury, followed by CPNB catheter removal. The SNCV was also recorded in 2 anesthetized non-instrumented horses (sham controls). In both LPN and MPN myelinated fiber distributions were bimodal. The fraction of large fibers (>7 μm) was greater in the MPN than LPN (P < 0.05). Presence of CPNB catheters and SAL administration did neither affect measured HWR thresholds nor SNCVs, whereas BUP infusion suppressed HWRs. In conclusion, CPNB with 0.125% BUP provides pronounced analgesia by inhibiting sensory nerve conduction in the distal equine forelimb.

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