Objective-To evaluate the antinociceptive and sedative effects and duration of action of hydromorphone hydrochloride after IM administration to American kestrels (Falco sparverius). Animals-11 healthy 2-year-old American kestrels. Procedures-Hydromorphone (0.1, 0.3, and 0.6 mg/kg) and an equivalent volume of saline (0.9% NaCl) solution (control treatment) were administered IM to kestrels in a masked randomized complete crossover study design. Foot withdrawal response to a thermal stimulus was determined 30 to 60 minutes before (baseline) and 0.5, 1.5, 3, and 6 hours after treatment administration. Agitation-sedation scores were determined 3 to 5 minutes before each thermal test. Results-Hydromorphone at 0.6 mg/kg, IM, significantly increased the thermal foot withdrawal threshold, compared with the response after administration of saline solution, for up to 3 hours, and hydromorphone at 0.1, 0.3, and 0.6 mg/kg, IM, significantly increased withdrawal responses for up to 6 hours, compared with baseline values. No significant differences in mean sedation-agitation scores were detected between hydromorphone and saline solution treatments; however, appreciable sedation was detected in 4 birds when administered 0.6 mg of hydromorphone/kg. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Hydromorphone at the doses evaluated significantly increased the thermal nociception threshold for American kestrels for 3 to 6 hours. Additional studies with other types of stimulation, formulations, dosages, routes of administration, and testing times are needed to fully evaluate the analgesic and adverse effects of hydromorphone in kestrels and other avian species and the use of hydromorphone in clinical settings.
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