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Papers of the Week

2022 Jul 25

Vet J

Post-operative nausea and vomiting (PONV) observed in a clinical study designed to assess the analgesic effects of intravenous and subcutaneous methadone in dogs.


Opioids are a key component of multimodal analgesia. Methadone is licensed in Europe for IV, IM and SC use in dogs despite there being no published studies assessing the analgesic efficacy of SC administration. Our intention was to compare the analgesic effect of IV or SC methadone. Fifteen dogs presenting for stifle surgery were administered 0.4mg/kg methadone IV followed by a randomised 0.4mg/kg methadone IV or SC dose 3h later. All dogs received ultrasound-guided sciatic and saphenous nerve blocks with bupivacaine prior to surgery. This protocol resulted in opioid adverse effects (hypersalivation, vomiting and/or regurgitation) in 5/15 dogs (33%). Thus, in consultation with the ethical review committee, an otherwise identical protocol using a revised 0.2mg/kg methadone dose was implemented. In the next three dogs studied, similar opioid adverse effects were found in all three dogs and the study was terminated. This paper highlights the potential for post operative nausea and vomiting (PONV), which may have been induced by methadone when used in combination with efficacious locoregional anaesthesia.