Assessing post-operative pain

Introduction

When examining animals, we often interpret certain clinical signs as suggesting the presence of pain based on how humans behave when in pain. Unfortunately, this anthropomorphic view of pain is flawed. Many animals do not respond to conditions and procedures that would cause pain in humans in a way that is immediately apparent as pain-related behaviour. 

The key to introducing effective pain control is to improve our methods of pain recognition and assessment. Pain assessment is important not simply because it encourages greater use of analgesics, but because it enables more appropriate use of these drugs.