Veterinary – Suspected neuropathy in a prairie falcon

J Avian Med Surg. 2009 Sep;23(3):209-13.

A multimodal approach to management of suspected neuropathic pain in a prairie falcon (Falco mexicanus).

Shaver SL, Robinson NG, Wright BD, Kratz GE, Johnston MS.

Professional Veterinary Medicine Program, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, 300 W Drake Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1678, USA.

An adult male prairie falcon (Falco mexicanus) was presented for evaluation and treatment of self-inflicted wounds along the right proximal patagium. The bird had started self-traumatizing approximately 1 month after fracturing the right metacarpus, although the fracture had stabilized, surface wounds had healed completely, and treatment with a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug had been administered. The bird was treated with gabapentin (11 mg/kg p.o. q12h), ketamine (0.5 mg/kg i.m. q24h), and low level laser therapy (LLLT) (<5 mW, 630-680 nm, 5-second application per site) for 3 weeks, but, despite initial improvement, new self-inflicted wounds appeared at the same site. Approximately 1.5 months later, a radial and medianoulnar nerve block was performed by using bupivacaine (2 mg/kg) and medetomidine (0.5 microg/kg). In addition, the dosing interval of ketamine was increased to q12h, and the dose of gabapentin was increased 7.5-fold. A higher energy and wavelength of LLLT (1040 mW, 830 nm, 2 J/cm2) was applied once to the injured region and fracture site, then the original LLLT protocol was applied once daily. After 2.5 months, the wounds healed completely and no further mutilation took place. Once deemed ready for release, the falcon was returned to the wild after 181 days in captivity. This is the first reported application of successful multimodal analgesia in a raptor with uncontrolled neuropathic pain.