Definition of Animal Pain

The IVAPM supports the definition of animal pain as offered by Moloney (Moloney V et al., J An Sci. 1997;75:266-272)

“Animal pain is an aversive, sensory experience representing awareness by the animal of damage or threat to the integrity of its tissues (note that there might not be any damage). It changes the animal’s physiology and behaviour to reduce or avoid the damage, to reduce the likelihood of its recurrence and to promote recovery. Non-functional (non-useful) pain occurs when the intensity or duration of the experience is not appropriate for damage sustained (especially if none exists) and when physiological and behavioural responses are unsuccessful in alleviating it.”

Pain Information & Guidelines

IVAPM is committed to educating all members of the veterinary profession in pain management. Responses to pain are species specific and can even be associated with a particular breed, age and individual characteristics, as well as the origin and type of pain.

The ability to recognize pain and assess its intensity is essential to effective treatment. Pain guidelines and scales are useful tools in determining the level of pain a patient is experiencing based on clinical assessment and behavior.