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An Urban Experience
of choice the drug should be more effective. Morphine
is a μ receptor agonist while butorphanol is a strong κ receptor agonist. In most avian species butorphanol
has been apparently the most consistent with supplying analgesic benefits to the patient. Buprenorphine, a slow-onset, long acting opiate is a partial μ agonist with mixed results in affecting analgesia in avian studies. Buprenorphine may be effective with many avian species but it apparently has little effect in African grey parrots, even when administered relatively large doses.2
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) are arguably the most used analgesic agents in avian medicine. The newer generation of NSAIDs target the inhibition of the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzyme in the arachidonic acid pathway. The COX-2 class of drugs has been promoted over the COX-1 class because of less physical side effects, especially affecting the gastrointestinal and renal systems. Meloxicam and celecoxib are effective COX-2 inhibitors used often in avian medicine.
Once an analgesic agent has been selected the duration of treatment should be established. Of course depending on the speed of recovery the treatment period can be reduced or extended, but never without careful consideration. Any analgesic agent, has potential side effects, therefore judicious use is recommended. When the patient does not show any overt clinical
signs associated with pain and when you feel recovery can progress without pain medication then analgesic administration should be discontinued.
1. Avian
a. Butorphanol 0.5-4.0 mg/kg IM q1-4h
b. Buprenorphine HCL 0.25-0.5 mg/kg IM q6h
c. Gabapentin 10 mg/kg PO q12h
d. Hydromorphone HCL 0.6 mg/kg IM q6h
e. Meloxicam 0.1-0.2 mg/kg PO, IM q24h
f. Tramadol HCL Raptors: 5-11 mg/kg PO q12h Psittacines: 15-30 mg/kg q6h
1. Definition of Pain: International Association for the Study of Pain web site. Available from: URL: Accessed March 21, 2009.
2. Hawkins MG. The use of analgesics in birds, reptiles, and small exotic mammals. J Exotic Pet Med, 15:3, 177-192:2006.
3. Carpenter JW (ed): Exotic Animal Formulary (ed4). St. Louis, MO, Elsevier/ Saunders, 2013.
4. Sanchez-Migallon Guzman D, Kukanich B, Drazenovich TL, Olsen GH, Paul- Murphy JR: Pharmacokinetics of hydromorphone hydrochloride after intravenous administration of a single dose to American kestrels (Falco sparvevius). Am J Vet Res 75(6):527-531, 2014.

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