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How can pain be assessed?
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How can Pain be Assessed? > Subjective Assessment

Verbal Descriptors VAS NRS

Numerical Rating Scales

Numerical Rating Scales are used to assess the degree of lameness shown by animals on farms  e.g. Manson & Leaver (1988) - see gait for further information on assessment of lameness.  In addition,  Fitzpatrick et al (2002) and Harkins et al (2002) used NRS to record expert opinion of the severity of pain caused by a range of diseases and husbandry procedures in cattle and sheep.

A choice is made from a range of whole numbers, where 0 signifies no pain and the highest number signifies most pain e.g.

0 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9

The instruction would be to circle the overall level of pain suffered by the following individual animals: 

1. castrated using:

a. Rubber rings           0 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9

b. Burdizzo                0 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9

c. Surgical procedure  0 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9

2. with the following conditions:

a. Mastitis                  0 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9

b. Foot rot                 0 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9

c. Prolapsed vagina     0 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9

A few words of description for each score improves NRS. 

Similar scales have also be used to assess pain related conditions e.g. severity of wounds (Molony et al 1995; Kent et al 2000; Stafford et al 2002) and degree of lameness (Welsh et al 1993).

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                                            Revised: 20-10-08