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Assessing the Health and
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Where do we go from here, and what can I do to recognise pain in my research animals?


Our ability to assess pain after surgery in most species is still very limited, making it difficult to ensure we are managing pain effectively with analgesics or other treatments. This situation will improve as pain assessment schemes are developed and validated, but in the meantime, the following approach can be suggested: 
  • Observe the animals you work with regularly and become familiar with their normal appearance and behaviour

  • If you notice changes after you have done something that could cause pain (such as surgery), consider that this could be because of pain.

  • Give analgesic drugs routinely, choosing a dose rate that has been estimated based on our current knowledge (see table).


Carprofen
Meloxicam
Buprenorphine
Morphine
Mouse
10 mg/kg s.c.
5 mg/kg s.c.
0.1 mg/kg s.c.
2 - 5 mg/kg s.c.
Rat
5 mg/kg s.c.
1 - 2 mg/kg s.c. or 4 mg/kg per os
0.01 - 0.05 mg/kg s.c.
2 - 5 mg/kg s.c.
Rabbit
4 mg/kg s.c.
0.2 – 0.4 mg/kg s.c., 0.2 - 0.6mg/kg per os
0.01 - 0.05 mg/kg s.c
2 - 5 mg/kg s.c. or i.m
Guinea Pig
2 - 5 mg/kg s.c.
?
0.05 mg/kg s.c.
2 - 5 mg/kg s.c. or i.m
Dog
4 mg/kg i.v., s.c. or per os
0.2 mg/kg s.c. or 0.1 mg/kg per os
0.01 - 0.02 mg/kg s.c., i.m. or i.v.
0.3 - 1.0 mg/kg s.c. or i.m.
Cat
2 - 4 mg/kg i.v. or s.c.
0.3 mg/kg s.c. or 0.1 mg/kg per os
0.01 - 0.02 mg/kg s.c., i.m. or i.v.
0.1 - 0.2 mg/kg s.c.
Rhesus Macaque
4 mg/kg s.c.
0.1 mg/kg s/c or per os
0.005 - 0.01 mg/kg s.c., i.m. or i.v.
1 - 2 mg/kg s.c. or i.m.
Sheep
1.5 - 2 mg/kg s.c. or i.v.
?
0.005 - 0.01 mg/kg i.m. or i.v.
0.2 - 0.5 mg/kg i.m.

  • Try to develop scoring sheets that can be used for your particular research procedure, and also use simple measures such as food and water consumption and body weight changes.

  • Keep up to date with developments in this area, and review your protocols for animal care regularly.

 

  
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