What is pain?
How is pain produced?
How can pain be assessed?
How is pain relieved?
Test your Knowledge
Table of contents
CD Purchase

How can Pain be Assessed? > Objective Assessment > Behaviour

Posture Gait Activity Facial Expression Vocalisation Mental State Evoked Behaviour Behaviour Patterns Analgesic Treatment

Response to Analgesic Treatment

The ability of analgesic or anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce or eliminate signs of pain can provide evidence, which confirms the presence of pain.  The amount and potency of analgesic used can help assess pain intensity. 

There is a growing body of information available on the efficacy and pharmacology of analgesics for use in domestic species.  Several scientists have investigated the efficacy of drugs by measuring the plasma cortisol response to surgical procedures frequently performed on farmed livestock e.g. rubber ring (Kent et al 1998), surgical and Burdizzo castration (Molony et al 1997; Stafford et al 2002) and dehorning (Sutherland et al 2002a, b).

Local anaesthetic treatment can reduce or eliminate behavioural, physiological and biochemical indicators of pain by blocking transmission of sensory nervous activity from damaged tissues to the brain, thus confirming the peripheral nociceptive basis of the pain (view animation).

*Note that indices for measuring animal pain cannot be validated by using particular analgesics if the same indices were used to assess the effectiveness of the analgesic in the first place.* Bateson (1991)

 Back                  top of the page            

                                            Revised: 20-10-08