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Guide for the Care and use of Laboratory Animals: Eighth Edition
trained personnel. Particular attention should be given to thermoregulation, cardiovascular and respiratory function, electrolyte and fluid balance, and management of postoperative pain or discomfort. Additional care may be warranted, including long-term administration of parenteral fluids, analgesics, and other drugs, as well as care of surgical incisions. Appropriate medical records should also be maintained.
After recovery from anesthesia, monitoring is often less intense but should include attention to basic biologic functions of intake and elimination and to behavioral signs of postoperative pain, monitoring for postsurgical infections, monitoring of the surgical incision site for dehiscence, bandaging as appropriate, and timely removal of skin sutures, clips, or staples (UFAW 1989).
PAIN AND DISTRESS
An integral component of veterinary medical care is prevention or alleviation of pain associated with procedural and surgical protocols. Pain is a complex experience that typically results from stimuli that damage or have the potential to damage tissue; such stimuli prompt withdrawal and evasive action. The ability to experience and respond to pain is widespread in the animal kingdom and extends beyond vertebrates (Sherwin 2001).
Pain is a stressor and, if not relieved, can lead to unacceptable levels of stress and distress in animals. Furthermore, unrelieved pain may lead to “wind-up,” a phenomenon in which central pain sensitization results in a pain response to otherwise nonpainful stimuli (allodynia; Joshi and Ogunnaike 2005). For these reasons, the proper use of anesthetics and analgesics in research animals is an ethical and scientific imperative. Recognitionand Alleviation of Pain in Laboratory Animals (NRC 2009a) is an excellent source of information about the basis and control of distress and pain (see also Appendix A, Anesthesia, Pain, and Surgery).
Fundamental to the relief of pain in animals is the ability to recognize its clinical signs in specific species (Bateson 1991; Carstens and Moberg 2000; Hawkins 2002; Holton et al. 1998; Hughes and Lang 1983; Karas et al. 2008; Martini et al. 2000; Roughan and Flecknell 2000, 2003, 2004; Sneddon 2006). Species vary in their response to pain (Baumans et al. 1994; Kohn et al. 2007; Morton et al. 2005; Viñuela-Fernández et al. 2007), and criteria for assessing pain in various species differ. The U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training (see Appendix B) state that in general, unless the contrary is known or established, it should be considered that procedures that cause pain in humans may also cause pain in other animals (IRAC 1985).
Certain species-specific behavioral manifestations are used as indicators of pain or distress—for example, vocalization (dogs), depression