Objective - To evaluate the microcrystalline sodium urate (MSU) method for inducing arthritis in parrots and to compare the analgesic efficacy of long-acting liposome-encapsulated butorphanol (LEBT), carprofen, or a combination of both. Animals - 20 Hispaniolan parrots. Procedures - MSU was injected into a tibiotarsal-tarsometatarsal (intertarsal) joint to induce arthritis (time 0). Four treatments were compared (LEBT [15 mg/kg, SC] administered once at time 0; injections of carprofen [3 mg/kg, IM, q 12 h] starting at time 0; administration of LEBT plus carprofen; and a control treatment of saline [0.9% NaCl] solution). Weight load testing and behavioral scoring were conducted at 0, 2, 6, 26, and 30 hours. Results - Injection of MSU into the intertarsal joint induced arthritis, which resolved within 30 hours. Treatment with LEBT or LEBT plus carprofen resulted in significantly greater weight-bearing load on the limb with induced arthritis, compared with the control treatment. Treatment with carprofen alone caused a slight but nonsignificant improvement in weight-bearing load on the arthritic limb, compared with the control treatment. Behaviors associated with motor activity and weight bearing differed between the control and analgesic treatments. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - Butorphanol was an effective treatment for pain associated with arthritis, but carprofen administered every 12 hours was insufficient. Injection of MSU to induce arthritis in a single joint was a good method for evaluating tonic pain in parrots, and measurement of the weight-bearing load was accurate for assessment of arthritic pain; however, behavioral changes associated with pain were subtle.
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