Providing effective pain relief requires administration of an appropriate analgesic regimen for an appropriate time. This seems straightforward, but experience in man and animals has shown that effective pain management requires careful and frequent assessment of pain intensity. When dealing with laboratory animals, an additional concern is the potential interaction between analgesic agents and the specific goals of a research project.
This seminar will review recent advances in pain assessment methods in laboratory species and discuss options for analgesic treatment. The difficult problem of determining the duration of treatment and frequency of dosing will be considered. Approaches to dealing with interactions between analgesic agents, pain, and research protocols will be discussed. Particular emphasis will be given to developing practical approaches to assessing and managing pain, and integrating this within an overall scheme of optimising animal welfare.
- Introduction (00:00)
- Where do published dose rates come from? (3.34)
- Analgesics don’t always work (14:37)
- Analgesics and interactions with research projects (19:06)
- What drug, what dose and when? (24:34)
- What route of administration should I use? (32:39)
- Resource issues and summary (37:27)
Estimated review time: 45 minutes
Questions from the live session
I’d do pain assessment post-op to decide whether I needed more than a single dose of buprenorphine, or whether the NSAID was sufficient.
I’d anticipate giving a second dose of buprenorphine but would expect the degree of pain to be reduced greatly after 12-16h.
The impairment of liver function might extend the duration of action of some drugs, but if there is any activity in the transplant, the very small quantities of drugs given should be metabolised. In transplants in larger species, we saw no issues in relation to this, nor in liver resection models in rodents.
Do check that your animal facility allows you to use cameras, and if they don’t, start a discussion as to why this should be reviewed to facilitate pain assessment.
My aim would be: 1) Discuss with the investigators if other agents really are contraindicated at the doses needed for post-op pain relief, 2) Ensure effective pain assessment is carried out, 3) Remind them that a surgical procedure without analgesia is likely to be categorised as severe, and greater ethical justification is going to be required.
Finally, your comment about the mice and rats being apparently normally active within 15 minutes of recovery is important. One of the problems we had with pain in animals was that we often start with the assumption that “of course animals feel pain, they are just like us”, but then when they don’t behave like us, we can start to think “well maybe that’s because they feel less pain, or maybe they just aren’t in any pain…”. Animals in pain behave in species-specific ways to express that pain – but that’s a topic for another webinar! There will be more on this in the e-learning modules that are coming in early 2022.
About the Author
Webinar presented by Professor (Emeritus) Paul A Flecknell, MA, VetMB, PhD, DECLAM, DLAS, DECVA, (Hon) DACLAM, FRSB, (Hon) FIAT, (Hon) FRCVS Newcastle University, and CEO of FLAIRE Consultants, U.K. Paul has over 40 years of experience in the care and welfare of animals. He has authored numerous scientific publications, books and book chapters and has an international reputation in this field. He worked as Director of a multi-species research facility for over 30 years and has extensive experience in the development and delivery of training and education in animal care and welfare. He has wide experience in advising on facility management and ethical issues. As head of the Pain and Animal Welfare Science (PAWS) group at Newcastle, he published over a 150 scientific papers, reviews and book chapters in the field of analgesia and anaesthesia of laboratory animals.