Effect of fentanyl on thermal and mechanical nociceptive thresholds in horses and estimation of anti-nociceptive plasma concentration
There are few investigations relating anti-nociception to plasma concentrations of fentanyl in horses. The study objective was to evaluate analgesic efficacy and duration in horses and determine the minimum anti-nociceptive plasma concentrations. Eight horses were treated with saline (P) and fentanyl (F2.5=2.5μg/kg; F5=5μg/kg; F10=10μg/kg) given IV over 5min, with a wash-out period of 10 days. To evaluate thermal (°C) and mechanical (N) nociceptive threshold single stimulations were applied prior to (baseline) and 10, 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, 240, 300, 360, 420, 540min and 22.5h after treatment. Plasma fentanyl concentrations were measured at specific time points. Locomotor activity, heart rate, respiratory rate and gastrointestinal sounds were recorded. Two-way repeated measures ANOVA and pairwise comparisons were used for data analysis (P<0.05). With treatment F10, there was a significant increase in thermal threshold above baseline (47.2ö4.1°C) at t10 (53.7ö4.2°C) and t30 (52.1ö5.6°C), whereas mechanical threshold increased considerably above baseline (3.7ö1.3N) only at t10 (6.6ö3.6N). Estimated mean minimum anti-nociceptive plasma concentration determined by thermal stimulation was 6.1-6.8ng/mL. Dose-dependent increased locomotion occurred, but no significant changes in heart rate, respiratory rate and gastrointestinal sounds were observed. Fentanyl IV at 10μg/kg produced anti-nociception for 10-30min and fentanyl plasma concentrations of ≥6.1-6.8ng/mL appear necessary to induce thermal anti-nociception. Dose-dependent increased locomotion was the main side effect observed.