Effects of phenylbutazone and indomethacin on the post-operative course following experimental orthopaedic surgery in dogs.
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Randomized placebo-controlled crossover studies were carried out in dogs to evaluate how two non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) might modulate an acute post-traumatic inflammatory reaction. Two "identical" surgical interventions were performed on the forelimbs of each animal with an interval of 28 days, to enable a paired comparison of the inflammatory signs and the wound/bone healing processes. At one operation 8 dogs received 300 mg phenylbutazone twice daily for 8 days starting on the day before surgery, and at the other operation matching placebo tablets were given. In a similar placebo-controlled trial another group of 8 dogs received 5 mg indomethacin twice daily. With phenylbutazone the post-operative swelling was not significantly reduced compared to placebo, but there was less pain and limping. With indomethacin the swelling was somewhat reduced, but there was no consistent difference to placebo in the pain and limping assessments. None of the drugs appeared to distinctly effect the wound or fracture healing, as evaluated by clinical inspection, comparison of radiographs and comparison of bone sections from the sites of surgery. It proved difficult to select an appropriate dosage of indomethacin due to its high potential to induce GI ulceration and bleeding in dogs. In this experimental surgical model with an acute inflammation, neither phenylbutazone nor indomethacin showed impressive anti-inflammatory or analgesic properties. In the same model paracetamol has proved to significantly and more efficiently, reduce both swelling and pain without any noticeable adverse effects, and appears to be a better alternative than the two presently tested NSAID.