Evaluation of the Thermal Antinociceptive Effects of Buprenorphine Hydrochloride in American Kestrels (Falco sparverius)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2013
Susanne M. Ceulemans2, BSc; David Sanchez-Migallon Guzman1, LV, MS, DECZM (Avian), DACZM; Glenn H. Olsen3, DVM, MS, PhD; Hugues Beaufrere4, DrMedVet, PhD, DABVP (Avian), DECZM (Avian); Joanne Paul-Murphy1, DVM, DACZM, DACAW
1Department of Veterinary Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA, USA; 2Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands; 3Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, USGS, Laurel, MD, USA; 4Health Sciences Center, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada


Recent studies have shown differences in the antinociceptive properties of opioid drugs in American kestrels.1,2 Hydromorphone, a pure mu-opioid agonist, had a dose responsive thermal antinociceptive effect suggestive of analgesic properties.1 In contrast, butorphanol, did not have a significant thermal antinociceptive effect at the dosages evaluated.2 The current study evaluated buprenorphine hydrochloride, known as a slow-onset, long-acting, partial mu agonist with poorly defined kappa receptor activity in American kestrels.3-7 A masked randomized complete crossover study using foot withdrawal threshold to a noxious thermal stimulus was performed to evaluate antinociceptive effects and duration of action of buprenorphine hydrochloride. Buprenorphine hydrochloride (0.1, 0.3 and 0.6 mg/kg IM, [Buprenex®, 0.3 mg/ml, Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare Ltd. Dansom Lane Hull, England]) and saline solution (0.9%NaCl, Hospira Inc., Lake Forest, IL, USA) were evaluated in 12 kestrels. Baseline thermal withdrawal threshold data were generated prior to drug administration followed by foot withdrawal threshold measurements at 0.5, 1.5, 3, and 6 hours after buprenorphine or saline administration. Kestrels were assigned an agitation-sedation score and monitored throughout the testing period for adverse effects. Buprenorphine hydrochloride caused a significant dose-dependent thermal antinociceptive response in American kestrels. The increase in mean withdrawal threshold was suggestive of analgesia. Further studies with other types of stimulations, formulations, dosages, and routes of administration in kestrels and other avian species are needed to fully evaluate the analgesic and adverse effects of buprenorphine and its clinical relevance.

Literature Cited

1.  Sanchez-Migallon Guzman, D., T. Drazenovich, G. Olsen, N. Willits, and J. Paul-Murphy. 2012. Evaluation of the thermal antinociceptive effects of intramuscular hydromorphone in American kestrels (Falco sparverius). Proc. Assoc. Avian Vet. Pp. 343–344.

2.  Sanchez-Migallon Guzman, D., T. Drazenovich, G. Olsen, N. Willits, and J. Paul-Murphy. 2012. Evaluation of the thermal antinociceptive effects of intramuscular butorphanol tartrate in American kestrels (Falco sparverius). Proc. Am. Assoc. Zoo Vet. Pp. 198–199.

3.  Leander, J.D. 1988. Buprenorphine is a potent κ-opioid receptor antagonist in pigeons and mice. Eur. J. Pharmacol. 151: 457–461.

4.  Pick, C.G., Y. Peter, S. Schreiber, and R. Weizman. 1997. Pharmacological characterization of buprenorphine, a mixed agonist-antagonist with kappa 3 analgesia. Brain Res. 744: 41–46.

5.  Picker, M.J. 1994. Kappa agonist and antagonist properties of mixed action opioids in a pigeon drug discrimination procedure. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 268: 1190–1198.

6.  Tyers, M.B. 1980. A classification of opiate receptors that mediate antinociception in animals. Br. J. Pharmacol. 69: 503–512.

7.  Pan, Z.Z., S.A. Tershner, and H.L. Fields. 1997. Cellular mechanism for anti-analgesic action of agonists of the kappa-opioid receptor. Nature. 389: 382–385.


Speaker Information
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David Sanchez-Migallon Guzman, LV, MS, DECZM (Avian), DACZM
Department of Veterinary Medicine and Epidemiology
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of California
Davis, CA, USA

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