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Systematic review of the behavioural assessment of pain in cats

Merola, Isabella and Mills, Daniel S. (2016) Systematic review of the behavioural assessment of pain in cats. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 18 (2). pp. 60-76. ISSN 1098-612X

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Item Type:Article
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Abstract

Objectives The objectives were to review systematically the range of assessment tools used in cats to detect the
behavioural expression of pain and the evidence of their quality; and to examine behavioural metrics (considering
both the sensory and affective domains) used to assess pain.
Methods A search of PubMed and ScienceDirect, alongside articles known to the authors, from 2000 onwards, for
papers in English was performed. This was followed by a manual search of the references within the primary data
sources. Only peer-reviewed publications that provided information on the assessment tool used to evaluate the
behavioural expression of pain in cats, in conscious animals (not anaesthetised cats), were included.
Results No previous systematic reviews were identified. One hundred papers were included in the final assessment.
Studies were primarily related to the assessment of pain in relation to surgical procedures, and no clear distinction
was made concerning the onset of acute and chronic pain. Ten broad types of instrument to assess pain were
identified, and generally the quality of evidence to support the use of the various instruments was poor. Only
one specific instrument (UNESP-Botucatu scale) had published evidence of validity, reliability and sensitivity at
the level of a randomised control trial, but with a positive rather than placebo control, and limited to its use in the
ovariohysterectomy situation. The metrics used within the tools appeared to focus primarily on the sensory aspect
of pain, with no study clearly discriminating between the sensory and affective components of pain.
Conclusions and relevance Further studies are required to provide a higher quality of evidence for methods used
to assess pain in cats. Furthermore, a consistent definition for acute and chronic pain is needed. Tools need to
be validated that can detect pain in a range of conditions and by different evaluators (veterinary surgeons and
owners), which consider both the sensory and emotional aspects of pain.

Keywords:Cats, Pain, bmjgoldcheck, NotOAChecked
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D300 Animal Science
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D328 Animal Welfare
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:17498
Deposited On:19 May 2015 15:50

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