Pain Management in Pigs Undergoing Experimental Surgery; a Literature Review (2012 – 2014)

A G Bradbury, M Eddleston, R E Clutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Failure to provide effective analgesia to animals in noxious studies contravenes the obligation to refine animal experimentation and, by increasing ‘noise’ in physiological datasets, may decrease the scientific validity of results. Pig models of surgical conditions are becoming increasingly important and used for translational work. This review aimed to determine the extent to which the recent biomedical literature describes pain assessment and alleviation in pigs recovering from experimental surgery. Three databases (Medline, Web of Knowledge, Google Scholar) were searched to find relevant studies published from January 2012 to March 2014. Information on pain assessment, peri- and postoperative analgesia was extracted. The review identified 233 papers meeting selection criteria. Most articles (193/233, 83%) described use of drugs with analgesic properties, but only 87/233 (37%) specifically described postoperative analgesia. No article provided justification for the analgesic chosen, despite the lack of guidelines for analgesia in porcine surgical models and the lack of formal studies on this subject. Postoperative pain assessment was reported in only 26/233 (10%) articles. It was found that the reporting of postoperative pain management in the studies was remarkably low – reflecting either under-reporting or under-use. Analgesic description, when given, was frequently too limited to enable study replication. Development of a pain-scoring system in pigs, together with the mandatory description of pain management in submitted articles would contribute to improved laboratory pig welfare.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
VolumeE-pub 3 October
Early online date3 Oct 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Oct 2015


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