sequence, reduce postsurgical hyperalgesia and reduce postsurgical stress and potential distress.


With that, I will close by saying that the definitions and principles presented in the 1992 NRC publication Recognition and Alleviation of Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals are still valid and useful. I would comment that the working definition of distress proposed by Dr. DeHaven could be improved by more clearly including behavior, specifically maladaptive behavior, in the definition to clearly distinguish stress from distress.


NRC [National Research Council]. 1992. Recognition and Alleviation of Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals . Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Sherrington C.S. 1906. The Integrative Action of the Nervous System. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press.


DR. KARAS (Alicia Karas, Tufts University): In my experience at a veterinary teaching hospital (Tufts University, Boston, MA), analgesics are commonly given to animals before surgery begins, and it does work. Interestingly, that observation was made several years ago at an American Society of Anesthesiology meeting, when the big-breaking media point was preemptive analgesia. One of my technicians expressed surprise when she heard about it on the Today Show because her experiences with preemptive analgesia included having animals recover quietly and with less distress.

DR. GEBHART: Thank you for sharing that experience. I suggest that many people who have tried this strategy and have reported that it does not work have probably underdosed the animals. It is necessary to use a relatively large dose of drug to actually counteraffect the development of sensitization of nociceptors. When you do that, and I am glad your clinical impressions bear this out, you do see improved postsurgical behaviors in these animals. They appear to be less stressed as a consequence; they are up and about sooner, and they seem to recover much better.

DR. DE HAVEN (Ron DeHaven, USDA): In an effort to clarify the working definition that I used, distress is a state in which an animal cannot escape from or adapt to the external or internal stressors or conditions it experiences resulting in negative effects upon its well-being. In my discussion, I did go on to say that there are some things that may cause distress, and those things are boredom, anxiety, fear, pain. So although some stressors may lead to distress, that sequence

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