The AVMA has adopted the following position on managing pain in animals:
"The AVMA believes that animal pain and suffering are clinically important conditions that adversely affect an animal's quality of life. Drugs, techniques, or husbandry methods used to prevent and control pain must be tailored to individual animals and should be based, in part, on the species, breed, age, procedure performed, degree of tissue trauma, individual behavioral characteristics, degree of pain, and health status."
Historically, empathy and ethics have guided veterinary medicine's approach to pain management in animals. More recently, interest in pain prevention and control has been heightened because of evidence indicating that unrelieved, acute pain can cause potentially life-threatening physiologic effects.
Recent advances in the alleviation of animal pain have been substantial. The availability of improved pharmaceuticals and techniques makes pain control possible and desirable in most animals and in most situations.