OBJECTIVE: To determine the serum concentrations and sedative effects of fentanyl after transdermal administration at 3 dosages in llamas. ANIMALS: 9 healthy adult female llamas (mean age, 8 +/- 3 years; mean weight, 150 +/- 18 kg). PROCEDURE: Llamas were allocated to 1 of 3 groups (3 llamas/group). Fentanyl patches (each providing transdermal delivery of 75 microg of fentanyl/h) were placed on shaved areas of the antebrachium of all llamas. In group 1, llamas were treated with 1 patch (anticipated fentanyl dosage, 75 microg/h). In group 2, llamas were treated with 2 patches (anticipated fentanyl dosage, 150 microg/h). In group 3, llamas were treated with 4 patches (anticipated fentanyl dosage, 300 microg/h). For each llama, the degree of sedation was assessed by use of a subjective scoring system and a blood sample was collected for determination of serum fentanyl concentration at 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, and 72 hours after patch placement. RESULTS: Following the placement of 4 patches, mean +/- SD serum fentanyl concentration in group 3 llamas reached 0.3 +/- 0.08 ng/mL within 12 hours. This concentration was sustained for 72 hours. In group 2, application of 2 patches provided inconsistent results; in group 1, application of 1 patch rarely provided measurable serum fentanyl concentrations. No llamas became sedated at any time. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Results suggest that application of four 75 microg/h fentanyl patches provides consistent, sustained serum fentanyl concentrations without sedation in llamas. However, the serum concentration of fentanyl that provides analgesia in llamas is not known.