Effect of sedation with butorphanol on variables pertaining to the ophthalmic examination in dogs

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To evaluate whether sedation with intramuscular butorphanol can interfere with different variables of the ocular examination in dogs.


Twenty-two beagles without ophthalmic abnormalities.


Each dog was examined 20 min prior to and again just before administration of butorphanol to establish baseline data. The globe and nictitating membrane position was evaluated, and the following were recorded: menace response, dazzle reflex, corneal blink reflex, phenol red thread tear test (PRT), Schirmer tear test-1 (STT-1), pupil size (PS) measurement, and rebound tonometry. Then, butorphanol was injected intramuscularly at a dose of 0.2 mg/kg and these procedures were repeated 10, 20, 30, and 45 min postadministration. A sedation score graded 0 to 3 was also established at these time points. Statistical analyses were performed on quantitative data using ANOVA.


The sedative effect was not associated with any changes in globe and nictitating membrane position; did not affect the results of the menace response, dazzle reflex, and corneal blink reflex; and had no significant effect on PRT values. However, butorphanol administration was associated with a statistically significant decrease in STT-1 and PS values (P < 0.005), and a statistically significant increase in IOP (P < 0.05). All these variations remained in the range of normal values.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Butorphanol administered intramuscularly at 0.2 mg/kg provided a degree of sedation allowing eye examination, but was found to interfere with STT-1, PS, and IOP values among the diagnostic tests studied. However, these values remained within normal limits.

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