TAP study: Control of surgical abdominal pain in dogs

tan and white dog laying down

Anesthesia and pain management

Status: Open and enrolling
Principal Investigator: 
Alonso Guedes
DVM, MS, PhD, Diplomate ACVAA
Martin Kennedy
DVM, Diplomate ACVAA

Dr. Kennedy
[email protected]

Amber Winter
Research Study Technician Specialist
[email protected]

I'm Interested

Study title

Evaluation of a novel technique to control surgical abdominal pain in dogs

Purpose of study

The objective of this study is to evaluate whether transversus abdominal plane (TAP) blocks, a local anesthetic technique, can provide lasting pain relief in dogs following abdominal surgery, possibly without the need of opioids and other medications. A separate goal of the study is to evaluate whether a new formulation of local anesthetic (liposomal-encapsulated bupivacaine) will provide longer-acting relief than traditional bupivacaine when used for local anesthesia.

Eligibility criteria

  • Adults, and at least 10 kg (22 pounds) in weight
  • Planning abdominal surgery at the Veterinary Medical Center
  • Owners not planning any changes during the week of the study (moving, vacation, new people or pets)

Excluded dogs:

  • Elective spay surgery
  • Trauma surgeries (vehicular accident)
  • Other exclusions apply (contact us)


  • Screening visit (may be part of surgical planning visit), owner education on how to use the pain scale
  • Surgery day: dogs will be randomized to one of 3 groups: saline control, bupivacaine, or liposomal bupivacaine and given a TAP block while under anesthesia prior to surgery. All dogs will receive standard opioid-based pain medications during surgery.
  • During hospital stay, the dog’s pain is evaluated at regular intervals and additional pain medication given if needed
  • Dogs discharged and owners will assess pain at home twice/day for 5 days
  • Final recheck, collecting forms


The costs of the TAP block are covered by the study. In addition, at the conclusion of the study, owners will be eligible for a $100 debit card.