Evaluation of the effects of the opioid agonist morphine on gastrointestinal tract function in horses

Pedro Boscan, Linda M. Van Hoogmoed, Thomas B Farver, Jack R. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

89 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective - To evaluate the effects of morphine administration for 6 days on gastrointestinal tract function in healthy adult horses. Animals - 5 horses. Procedures - Horses were randomly allocated into 2 groups in a crossover study. Horses in the treatment group received morphine sulfate at a dosage of 0.5 mg/kg, IV, every 12 hours for 6 days. Horses in the control group received saline (0.9% NaCl) solution at a dosage of 10 mL, IV, every 12 hours for 6 days. Variables assessed included defecation frequency, weight of feces produced, intestinal transit time (evaluated by use of barium-filled spheres and radiographic detection in feces), fecal moisture content, borborygmus score, and signs of CNS excitement and colic. Results - Administration of morphine resulted in gastrointes tinal tract dysfunction for 6 hours after each injection. During those 6 hours, mean ± SID defecation frequency decreased from 3.1 ± 1 bowel movements in control horses to 0.9 ± 0.5 bowel movements in treated horses, weight of feces decreased from 4.1 ± 0.7 kg to 1.1 ± 0.7 kg, fecal moisture content decreased from 76 ± 2.7% to 73.5 2.9%, and borborygmus score decreased from 13.2 ± 2.9 to 6.3 ± 3.9. Mean gastrointestinal transit time was also increased, compared with transit times in control horses. Conclusions and clinical relevance - Morphine administered at 0.5 mg/kg twice daily decreased propulsive motility and moisture content in the gastrointestinal tract lumen. These effects may predispose treated horses to development of ileus and constipation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)992-997
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Veterinary Research
Volume67
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2006

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morphine
narcotics
Morphine
Opioid Analgesics
agonists
Horses
gastrointestinal system
Gastrointestinal Tract
horses
Feces
gastrointestinal transit
Defecation
defecation
feces
water content
Gastrointestinal Transit
Weights and Measures
constipation
barium
Sudden Infant Death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)

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Evaluation of the effects of the opioid agonist morphine on gastrointestinal tract function in horses. / Boscan, Pedro; Van Hoogmoed, Linda M.; Farver, Thomas B; Snyder, Jack R.

In: American Journal of Veterinary Research, Vol. 67, No. 6, 06.2006, p. 992-997.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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