The aim of this randomised trial was to assess the effect of urethral infusion of atracurium besylate in dogs and cats with signs of urinary retention secondary to lesions affecting spinal cord segments T3–L3. Eighteen dogs and six cats with urinary retention were examined and scored before treatment on the degree of difficulty of inducing bladder emptying by manual bladder compression. Animals were subsequently treated in a blinded fashion by the same operator with urethral infusion of 2–4 ml of either a solution of 0.5 mg/ml of atracurium (treatment group) or placebo (control group) and, after five minutes, a second attempt was made to induce bladder emptying by manual compression and a post-treatment score assigned. Pretreatment scores did not differ between the treatment and control groups (5.6±0.8 v 6.2±0.7, respectively; P=0.22); however, post-treatment scores were significantly lower in the treatment group compared with the control group (2.9±0.4 v 5.9±0.3; P<0.05). Urethral infusion of atracurium facilitates manual bladder expression in dogs and cats with urinary retention secondary to spinal cord injuries. No side effects were recognised.
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