Objective-To evaluate the thermal antinociceptive and sedative effects and duration of action of tramadol hydrochloride after oral administration to American kestrels (Falco sparverius). Animals-12 healthy 3-year-old American kestrels. Procedures-Tramadol (5, 15, and 30 mg/kg) and a control suspension were administered orally in a masked randomized crossover experimental design. Foot withdrawal response to a thermal stimulus was determined 1 hour before (baseline) and 0.5, 1.5, 3, 6, and 9 hours after treatment. Agitation-sedation scores were determined 3 to 5 minutes before each thermal stimulus test. Results-The lowest dose of tramadol evaluated (5 mg/kg) significantly increased the thermal foot withdrawal thresholds for up to 1.5 hours after administration, compared with control treatment values, and for up to 9 hours after administration, compared with baseline values. Tramadol at doses of 15 and 30 mg/kg significantly increased thermal thresholds at 0.5 hours after administration, compared with control treatment values, and up to 3 hours after administration, compared with baseline values. No significant differences in agitation-sedation scores were detected between tramadol and control treatments. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-Results indicated oral administration of 5 mg of tramadol/ kg significantly increased thermal nociception thresholds for kestrels for 1.5 hours, compared with a control treatment, and 9 hours, compared with baseline values; higher doses resulted in less pronounced antinociceptive effects. Additional studies with other types of stimulation, formulations, dosages, routes of administration, and testing times would be needed to fully evaluate the analgesic and adverse effects of tramadol in kestrels and other avian species.
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