Development of an avian brachial plexus nerve block technique for perioperative analgesia in mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos)*

Deena J. Brenner, R. Scott Larsen, Peter J Dickinson, Raymund F. Wack, D. Colette Williams, Peter J Pascoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Surgical procedures of the wing are commonly performed in companion, captive, and wild avian species. To develop a clinically applicable brachial plexus nerve block technique for perioperative analgesia in birds, 8 adult female mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) were anesthetized and used in several local anesthetic trials with bupivacaine (2 or 8 mg/kg) or a combination of lidocaine (15 mg/kg) and epinephrine (3.8 μg/kg) perineurally; equal volumes of saline were administered as control treatments. Both axillary and dorsal approaches to the brachial plexus were evaluated. With the axillary approach, radial and ulnar compound nerve action potentials (CNAP), sensory nerve conduction velocities (SNCVs), and cord dorsum potentials (CDPs) were recorded after distal sensory nerve stimulation. Values were recorded before and at 5, 30, and 60 minutes after injection of local anesthetic or saline. Birds were monitored for the presence of a wing droop and a change in motor function on recovery from anesthesia. Results were highly variable for all techniques. No technique significantly decreased CDPs or resulted in consistent wing droop. Radial and ulnar CNAPs, SNCVs, and CDPs were consistently recorded in all birds. Variable results might indicate that the treatment, concentration, or volume of local anesthetic used was ineffective in producing local anesthesia. Electrodiagnostic methods used in these ducks to assess loss of sensory nerve conduction might not be sensitive enough to assess the effects of local anesthesia. Further research is needed to identify methods for assessing the efficacy of brachial plexus nerve blockade in birds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-34
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Avian Medicine and Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Analgesia
  • Anas platyrhynchos
  • Avian
  • Brachial plexus nerve block
  • Bupivacaine
  • Lidocaine
  • Mallard duck

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals


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