The effect of epidural morphine on the minimum alveolar concentration of isoflurane in cats

F. J. Golder, Peter J Pascoe, C. S. Bailey, Jan Ilkiw, L. D. Tripp

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29 Scopus citations


This study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of 3 different doses of epidurally administered morphine sulphate on the minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) of isoflurane in healthy cats. Five 4-year-old, spayed female cats weighing 4.7 ± 0.8 kg were allocated randomly to receive one of 3 doses of morphine on each study day. The 3 doses of morphine were 0.05, 0.1 and 0.2 mg/kg bwt and each cat was studied 3 times so that each cat received all doses. On each study day, cats were anaesthetised with isoflurane and instrumented. The MAC of isoflurane was determined in triplicate and morphine sulphate was administered via an epidural catheter chronically implanted prior to the study. Maximum MAC reduction was determined over the following 2 h. At the end of the study cats were allowed to recover. There was a significant reduction in MAC of isoflurane, with all doses of epidural morphine (P<0.05). The maximum reduction in MAC of isoflurane after 0.05 mg/kg bwt, 0.10 mg/kg bwt and 0.20 mg/kg bwt morphine was 21.4 ± 9.796, 30.8 ± 9.696, and 30.2 ± 6.8%, respectively, with no significant difference between doses. Systolic, mean and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and arterial pH decreased significantly whereas arterial carbon dioxide tension increased significantly after morphine administration (P<0.05). The means for all variables returned to pre-morphine values when the end-tidal isoflurane concentration was reduced to the new MAC point. In conclusion, epidural morphine decreased the concentration of isoflurane required to prevent movement in response to noxious mechanical stimulation to the tail base. A similar effect may be seen clinically allowing lower doses of isoflurane to be used to provide surgical anaesthesia for procedures involving the hind limbs, pelvis and tail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-56
Number of pages5
JournalVeterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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