fort during recovery from anesthesia. Additional care might be warranted, including administration of parenteral fluids for maintenance of water and electrolyte balance (FBR 1987), analgesics, and other drugs; care for surgical incisions; and maintenance of appropriate medical records.

After anesthetic-recovery, monitoring is often less intense but should include attention to basic biologic functions of intake and elimination and behavioral signs of postoperative pain, monitoring for postsurgical infections, monitoring of the surgical incision, bandaging as appropriate, and timely removal of skin sutures, clips, or staples (UFAW 1989).


An integral component of veterinary medical care is prevention or alleviation of pain associated with procedural and surgical protocols. Pain is a complex experience that typically results from stimuli that damage tissue or have the potential to damage tissue. The ability to experience and respond to pain is widespread in the animal kingdom. A painful stimulus prompts withdrawal and evasive action. Pain is a stressor and, if not relieved, can lead to unacceptable levels of stress and distress in animals. The proper use of anesthetics and analgesics in research animals is an ethical and scientific imperative. Recognition and Alleviation of Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals (NRC 1992) is a source of information about the basis and control of pain (see also Appendix A).

Fundamental to the relief of pain in animals is the ability to recognize its clinical signs in specific species (Hughes and Lang 1983; Soma 1987). Species vary in their response to pain (Breazile 1987; Morton and Griffiths 1985; Wright and others 1985), 50 criteria for assessing pain in various species differ. Some species-specific behavioral manifestations of pain or distress are used as indicators, for example, vocalization, depression or other behavioral changes, abnormal appearance or posture, and immobility (NRC 1992). It is therefore essential that personnel caring for and using animals be very familiar with species-specific (and individual) behavioral, physiologic, and biochemical indicators of well-being (Dresser 1988; Dubner 1987; Kitchen and others 1987). In general, unless the contrary is known or established it should be assumed that procedures that cause pain in humans also cause pain in animals (IRAC 1985).

The selection of the most appropriate analgesic or anesthetic should reflect professional judgment as to which best meets clinical and humane requirements without compromising the scientific aspects of the research protocol. Preoperative or intraoperative administration of analgesics might enhance postsurgical analgesia. The selection depends on many factors, such as the species and age of the animal, the type and degree of pain, the likely effects of particular agents on specific organ systems, the length of the operative procedure, and the safety of an agent for an animal, particularly if a physiologic deficit is induced by a surgical or other experimental procedure. Such devices as precision vaporizers and respirators

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