TitleThe effects of two analgesic regimes on behavior after abdominal surgery in Steller sea lions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsWalker, KA, Horning, M, Mellish, J-AE, Weary, DM
JournalThe Veterinary Journal
KeywordsWildlife marking
AbstractThis study examined the effects of two non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) treatment protocols on the behavioral responses of juvenile Steller sea lions after abdominal surgery. Sea lions were randomly assigned to one of two treatments designed to control post-operative pain. The flunixin group (n=6) received flunixin meglumine (1mg/kg) administered as a single intramuscular (IM) injection before extubation from surgery. The carprofen group (n=5) received carprofen (4.4mg/kg) as an IM injection before extubation, then orally at 24, 48 and 72h after surgery. Seven behaviors related to post-operative pain were monitored by observers, blinded to treatment, for a total of 10days (3days pre-, day of surgery, and 6days post-surgery). All seven behaviors changed after surgery regardless of NSAID treatment, two of which returned to baseline within 6days of surgery. Only one behavior was mildly affected by analgesic treatment: sea lions in the carprofen group tended to spend less time lying down in Days 1-3 following surgery (i.e., the days which they received oral carprofen). These results suggested that neither treatment, at the dose administered, was effective in controlling pain in the days following this surgery.