Pain Assessment

Pain Assessment

Detecting animal pain is critical if refinement is to be successfully implemented when using animals in science.

Species and individual responses to pain are variable; therefore, it is essential that veterinary staff evaluating animals for pain understand typical species responses and individual behaviours. This includes recognizing changes in the normal behaviour and appearance of the animal.

Diagnosis of pain in animals is seldom made on the basis of a single observation or laboratory value. It is subjective and dependent on a combination of a clinical examination; familiarity with species, breed, and individual behaviour; knowledge of the degree of pain associated with particular procedures or illnesses; and recognition of the signs of discomfort and pain.

Clinical Signs of Pain

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This section was adapted from the ACVA position paper on the treatment of pain in animals and the CCAC guidelines on: the care and use of fish in research, teaching and testing.

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