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Analgesic effects of meloxicam administration on postoperative orthopedic pain in domestic pigeons (Columba livia)

Desmarchelier, Marion, Troncy, Eric, Fitzgerald, Guy, Lair, Stephane
American journal of veterinary research 2012 v.73 no.3 pp. 361-367
Columba livia, adverse effects, analgesia, analgesic effect, femur, meloxicam, orthopedics, osteotomy, pain, perch, pigeons, posture, sodium chloride
Objective: To assess the analgesic effects of 2 doses of meloxicam on the degree of postoperative orthopedic pain in pigeons. Animals: 21 domestic pigeons (Columba livia). Procedures: In each bird, a standardized osteotomy of 1 femur was performed and the fracture was immobilized with an intramedullary pin. Birds were randomly allocated to receive saline (0.9% NaCl) solution (control) or meloxicam (0.5 mg/kg [low dose] or 2.0 mg/kg [high dose]). The first treatment was administered IM after surgery was completed. Subsequent treatments were administered PO every 12 hours for 9 days. Degree of postoperative pain was assessed for the first 4 days after surgery by use of 3 methods: an electronic perch for assessment of weight-bearing load differential of the pelvic limbs, 4 pain scales, and analysis of video-recorded partial ethograms for bird activity and posture. Results: No significant differences were observed between the control group and the low-dose meloxicam group in any tested variable. The high-dose meloxicam group had a greater degree of weight bearing on the affected limb from the second to the fourth postoperative day as well as lower pain scores for at least the first 2 postoperative days, compared with the other groups. Return to presurgical behavior was achieved faster in pigeons that received high-dose meloxicam than in the other groups. No adverse effects were observed. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance: Administration of meloxicam at 0.5 mg/kg appeared ineffective in minimizing postoperative orthopedic pain in pigeons, but the 2.0 mg/kg dose provided quantifiable analgesia that appeared safe in this species in experimental conditions.