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


This web site is directed at methods for recognition and assessment of acute and chronic animal pain. It is optimised for use with Internet Explorer v6 and Netscape v6.2 and beyond.  However, the website may be viewed with earlier versions of these browsers but may not look exactly as it was designed.

Animal owners and carers must note that treatments for sick animals are NOT included in this web site and they are advised to consult a veterinary surgeon. Animal carers and owners are advised to start exploring the website from How can Animal Pain be Assessed?

This website contains video clips that require Quicktime player which is available free from www.apple.com/quicktime. Once in the apple website click on "Quicktime Player" to find instructions on how to download the free software. The streamed videos are only suitable for viewing on broadband or LAN connections.

Within the Animal Pain website green text underlined and bold is linked to other pages, including pages containing graphs or still pictures (.jpeg files), which are also put in italics. Orange text underlined, bold and italicised is linked to pages containing streamed movie files (.mpeg on cd) that may take time to download to your computer (the size of each movie in Kb is given on each movie page).  Blue text underlined is connected to other internet websites.  The highlighted text changes to pale blue once other websites have been visited. The path you used to get to the current page is displayed at the top of the page (except graph, image and video pages when the back button should be used to escape from these pages).

This website uses knowledge and understanding of:

  • The neurobiological mechanisms of pain.

  • Clinical neurological and behavioural changes in animals as a result of injury and disease.

  • Acute and chronic pain in lambs and calves produced by common husbandry practices [*see below].

  • Ethical constraints on studies of animal pain.

*Acute pain of different types and severities was produced mainly by castration and tail docking during experiments to develop more humane methods for these procedures. Measurable changes in the physiology and behaviour of lambs, calves and piglets are used to illustrate how such pains can be assessed.

*Chronic pain assessment may be achieved in future by extension of the approaches used for assessing acute pain.  However, validated assessments of this are not yet available.  This presents a challenge to those using this site.

Some general text books on pain, including animal pain may be found, together with the original AVTRW Guidelines on Recognition & Assessment of Pain in Animals (Sanford et al 1986) at the beginning of the Bibliography.

                                 Horse standing in field, pig's face, sheep and lamb, cow and calf

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                                            Revised: 20-10-08