Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people

New Pain Medication for Dogs having Back Surgery


Back surgery can be painful and debilitating to dogs and human beings. New methods are needed to help alleviate pain after back surgery in our pets. Maropitant is a well-established medication used to control nausea in dogs that also appears to have pain-relieving effects. In this study, we aim to determine if maropitant is helpful for relieving pain in dogs that have had back surgery. The goals are to reduce the need for other medications (e.g. opioids) and lessen the number of hospitalization days.

Note: Enrolled dogs pain levels will be monitored very closely and that additional opioid analgesics will be used to alleviate pain as needed, to ensure optimal pain management regardless of study participation.

ELIGIBILITY:  Dogs less than 65 pounds that have sudden onset of spinal cord compression (e.g. T3-L3 myelopathy caused by intervertebral disc extrusion.) Surgery must be performed to alleviate the disc injury (decompressive hemilaminectomy) immediately following enrollment. Dogs excluded include those that have any disease (e.g. kidney disease) preventing administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), any history of adverse reactions to NSAIDs, absent superficial or deep pain sensation detected on neurologic examination at the time of presentation to the CUHA, history of chronic pain or of other diseases detected during examination or diagnostic testing, since these could impact pain scoring.

COMPENSATION: The discount is limited to the cost of the post-surgery pain-relieving drugs, either maropitant or gabapentin. Any additional tests or procedures required as part of patient care, including the cost of surgery, will be the responsibility of the owner.

OWNER RESPONSIBILITY: The study will be conducted during the dog’s normal hospital stay after surgery. No additional time or visits beyond the normal post-surgery protocol will be required.

CONTACT/SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT: For questions or more information contact Dr. Cerda-Gonzalez at 607-253-3060 or email