Pain and Distress

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This page contains resources on pain management, pain assessment and scoring, alleviation of pain and distress, USDA categories of pain, guidelines for recognizing pain, and analgesics and analgesia.


Proceedings: Workshop on Alternative Methods for Leptospira Vaccine Potency Testing (2012)

National Toxicology Program Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM).

Refinement of Animal Use - Assessment and Alleviation of Pain and Distress (PDF | 2.45 MB)

International Journal of Laboratory Animal Science and Welfare.

A review article on methods of clinical pain assessment in animals, including a discussion of pain alleviation techniques.

Animal Care Policies (PDF | 157 KB)

USDA. APHIS. Animal Care.

These two policies define painful procedures and provide guidance on the written narrative for consideration of alternatives.

Recognizing Pain in Animals

National Academies of Science. Institute for Laboratory Animal Research.

The National Academies have developed a free online resource to help those who care for and use laboratory animals, farm animals, and pets to prevent, recognize, and alleviate pain in different types of animals, from non-human primates to fish. The web site is related to a 2009 report on the Recognition and Alleviation of Pain in Laboratory Animals.

Expert Working Group on Severity Classification of Scientific Procedures Performed on Animals: Final Report (PDF | 190 KB)

European Commission. Expert Working Group on Severity Classification Criteria.

Provide scientific-technical background information in support of the revision of the European Commission Directive 86/609/EEC on the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes.

Routine Use of Topical Anesthetics, Systemic Analgesics, and Humane Endpoints to Avoid or Minimize Pain and Distress in Ocular Safety Testing

NTP Interagency Center for the Evaluation of Alternative Toxicological Methods (NICEATM) and the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Validation of Alternative Methods (ICCVAM).

The recommendations include protocols that describe how to use topical anesthetics and systemic analgesics prior to and after test article administration in order to avoid animal pain and distress. They also identify specific clinical signs and lesions that can be used as humane endpoints to allow the investigator to end a study early in order to alleviate animal pain and distress.

Definition of Pain and Distress and Reporting Requirements for Laboratory Animals: Proceedings of the Workshop Held June 22, 2000

Institute for Laboratory Animal Research

These proceedings address the existing and proposed requirements for reporting pain and distress in laboratory animals and explored USDA's consideration of a proposed "working definition" of distress. It also discusses the pain and distress categorization scheme for reporting to USDA.

Guidelines to Promote the Wellbeing of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes: The Assessment and Alleviation of Pain and Distress in Research Animals

Australian Government. National Health and Medical Research Council.

Published in 2008 to be used by investigators and members of institutional ethics committees in Australia, this document is also relevant to people that conduct, review or manage research with animals all over the world.

Pain Management and Humane Endpoints Meeting

The Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing.

From a CAAT, NIH, NAS conference held in November 1998. Topics include philosophy, assessment, alleviation, and policies for the regulation of pain.