Behavioural signs of pain in cats: an expert consensus

Merola, Isabella and Mills, Daniel S. (2016) Behavioural signs of pain in cats: an expert consensus. PLOS One, 11 (2). e0150040. ISSN 1932-6203

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To identify where a consensus can be reached between veterinary experts in feline medicine on the core signs sufficient for pain (sufficient to indicate pain when they occur, but not necessarily present in all painful conditions) and necessary for pain (necessary in the presence of pain, but not always indicative of pain).


A modified Delphi technique was used, consisting of four rounds of questions and evaluation using nineteen participants during the period December 2014 and May 2015. Agreement was considered to be established when 80% of the experts concurred with the same opinion.


Twenty-five signs were considered sufficient to indicate pain, but no single sign was considered necessary for it.


Further studies are needed to evaluate the validity of these 25 behavioural signs if a specific pain assessment tool is to be developed that is capable of assessing pain in cats based on observational methods alone. The signs reported here may nonetheless help both vets and owners form an initial evaluation of the pain status of cats in their care.

Keywords:Cats, JCOpen
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:25200
Deposited On:17 Nov 2016 16:45

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