Basics of pain detection in rodents - a recipe for successful rodent analgesia* - Part 5
Posted by: admin | November 07, 2009 | 0 Comments
Rodent specific behaviors associated with pain
Researchers have observed behaviors in rodents that have been attributed to increased levels of pain. Back arching, staggering, pressing, writhing, and twitching of the skin and abdomen, or combination of behaviors may indicate the need for analgesia. Food intake, water intake, and body weight may all decrease post operatively in a painful animal. Other normal behaviors, like climbing and grooming, may also be decreased in an animal in pain. Small rodents experiencing pain may show piloerection. Also, animals may pay too much attention to a particular body part if painful. For example, they may stare at the body part, chew excessively at it, or even groom it excessively. It takes practice and careful observation in order to detect pain and monitor the effectiveness of pain control while using analgesics. Pain behaviors can be confused with normal behaviors. When using wound licking as one of the behaviors for signs of pain it must be remembered that licking is also performed by rats even with high doses of analgesics. When assessing pain, many behaviors as possible should be observed to determine if a rodent is painful. Behavioral formulas could assist this process by adding up the frequency of behaviors associated with pain. Behavioral formulas can be designed to include not only signs of pain but signs of normal behaviors as well.
* This is an excerpt from the Veterinary Bioscience Institute’ s Laboratory Mouse and Rat Anesthesia, Analgesia and Euthanasia course.