An inexpensive, easily available local anesthetic has been shown to provide good pain relief for female dogs after spay surgery.
Ovariohysterectomy (OHE), the formal term for a spay, is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in small animals, and it’s associated with post-surgical pain. A recent study in Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia assessed the use of a local anesthetic, bupivacaine, to decrease pain and requirement for additional analgesia in dogs after spay surgery.
Researchers injected the drug either within the body cavity (intraperitoneal, or IP, injection) or into the incision (incisional, or INC, injection). After evaluating thirty female dogs undergoing an OHE using pain scores, they concluded that administration of bupivacaine before spaying resulted in lower pain scores during the first hour of the postoperative period.
They also found there was a trend toward a decreased need for additional analgesia after the procedure. This is good news for animal shelters and spay/neuter clinics, because not only do local anesthetics provide their patients with needed pain relief but they are also inexpensive and not controlled.
Campagnol D, Teixeira-Neto FJ, Monteiro ER, Restitutti F, Minto BW. Effect of intraperitoneal or incisional bupivacaine on pain and the analgesic requirement after ovariohysterectomy in dogs. Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia 2012;39(4):426–430.