My dog, Pete, had Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery on April 5, 2011. After surgery, he was given a Fentanyl patch for pain relief, which delivers a consistent level of analgesia over a three-day period. Unfortunately, the Fentanyl patch can cause constipation, respiratory and circulatory depression and severe dysphoria (high anxiety and emotional distress). Pete didn’t suffer life threatening side effects, but he experienced significant emotional distress, and the Fentanyl also seemed to give Pete body chills, which were eased by blankets.
I found out that the number of dogs who have a similar adverse reaction to Fentanyl is relatively high, 20 to 30 percent. If you want to avoid a similar difficult experience you may want to try Fentanyl on your dog before surgery to see how your dog responds.
Fortunately, after listening to my description of Pete’s symptoms, our vet provided an alternative pain med, Tramadol. Once I removed the Fentanyl patch, Pete experienced almost immediate relief. He has been a very brave boy!