Assessment of New Therapies for Alleviation of Acute Pain in Animals

Comment on this policy

The assessment of the analgesic efficacy and potency of a variety of pharmaceutical agents for use in veterinary clinical practice is an important goal of applied and clinical veterinary research. Well-designed and appropriately controlled experimental clinical trials are vital to the development of safe and effective compounds. In analgesic efficacy trials, a “rescue” analgesic should always be included in trial design to protect study participants. With the availability of, and clinical experience with current, effective, and in most cases FDA-approved, pain-relieving compounds, suitable “rescue” analgesic drugs are readily available.

Appropriate pain thresholds for rescue therapy, a validated pain scoring system, application of clinical judgment, and appropriate training of study personnel are essential components of a well-designed prospective trial to assess alleviation of acute pain.  In studies involving acute pain, the AVMA strongly advocates that trial design and personnel training ensure that any animal be rescued from acute pain with an appropriate analgesic at a pain threshold that fully protects the welfare of study participants.

The intent of this policy is to support generation of useful and relevant information on products that have the potential to induce pain relief in animal patients. Further, this policy is consistent with the AVMA’s position regarding publications of studies involving pain and suffering in the American Journal of Veterinary Research and Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The instructions to authors state, in part, that “manuscripts containing information that suggests that animals were subjected to adverse, stressful, or harsh conditions or treatments will not be considered for publication unless the authors demonstrate convincingly that the knowledge gained was of sufficient value to justify these conditions or treatments.”