Although opioid drugs are extensively used for postoperative analgesia in dogs, their administration is generally restricted to the period in which the animal is hospitalised. Unfortunately, this limits the ability to provide multimodal pain relief in the home environment, which may lead to inadequate analgesia and consequent ‘break-through’ pain. This article, the first in a series of two, discusses the uses and limitations of oral opioid administration for extending postoperative analgesia beyond the hospitalisation period. The second article, to be published in a subsequent issue of In Practice, will focus on the role of transdermal opioid delivery for this purpose.
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