WSU Offers Discounts for Pets in Humane Pain Control Study

PULLMAN, Wash. — Dr. Steven Martinez, a small animal veterinary orthopedic
surgeon at Washington State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital,
needs help from pet owners with dogs that need knee surgery. Martinez is
conducting a U.S. Food and Drug and Administration-approved study to
evaluate a relatively new and commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory

The drug is currently used in dogs for osteoarthritis. Dr. Martinez’s study will
evaluate the effectiveness of the drug for post-operative pain control in dogs
that have had cranial cruciate ligament repairs.

Cranial cruciate ligament injuries are common in active dogs and are similar to
the anterior cruciate ligament-related knee injuries humans receive in sports
activities and accidents.

As an incentive, all study participants will receive a discount of up to $350
from their pet’s surgical bill. The usual bill for a cranial cruciate ligament
surgery at WSU ranges from $900-$950.

The drug under study is currently FDA approved to treat clinical signs
associated with arthritis in dogs. The drug is not FDA approved for
post-operative pain management, although it potentially represents certain
advantages over both narcotics and other NSAIDs like aspirin and
phenylbutazone (“bute”) used in dogs. One of the key advantages to NSAIDs
in general is they are known to provide pain relief as well as an
antiinflammatory action.

“Potent, newer-generation NSAIDs do not cause the potential side effects of
narcotics such as respiratory depression and sedation that can lead to
breathing difficulties for some patients following surgery,” explained Dr.
Martinez. “Unlike their older counterparts, newer NSAIDs, also know as the
‘COX selective’ NSAIDs after the enzyme system they affect, do not adversely
affect the blood-clotting mechanism that can lead to bleeding complications
following surgery. Since this drug does not depress breathing and prevent
normal clotting, it has a very good potential to treat pain in dogs following
surgery without the negative side effects.”

For dogs to be eligible for the study, they must surgically need a cruciate
ligament repair, and all steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
must be discontinued for at least 10 days prior to enrollment. Additionally, a
30-day withdrawal is required for any long-acting steroidal anti-inflammatory

Referred dogs will be screened prior to enrollment with a thorough physical
examination and clinical laboratory tests.

After a two-day evaluation period, dogs will undergo routine surgery and
remain hospitalized for five days for pain evaluation. Given the nature of the
study, dogs have an equal chance of receiving the study NSAID or a placebo.
If at any time during the study an animal is not responding to the study
treatment and appears in pain, they will be administered known analgesics (e.g.
morphine or oxymorphone) and withdrawn from the study. Patients that are
withdrawn from the study will still be eligible for the study discount.

“One of our goals as veterinarians and clinical researchers is to evaluate any
additional tools that we can use to control post-operative pain as humanely as
possible,” said Dr. Martinez. “The health and well-being of our patients
entering this study, as well as with any other animal entering WSU’s
Veterinary Teaching Hospital, is always paramount, and we will monitor them
very closely to ensure their complete comfort and a successful surgical

For complete details, possible client referrals or questions pertaining to the
study please contact the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at 509/335-0711 or by
e-mail at The study will end by April 2000.