Identifying pain in horses on the basis of changes to their facial appearance

Karina Gleerup and others, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Pain in horses is usually assessed using behavioural parameters as there is an absence of reliable physiological indicators. As in many other species, it is difficult to recognise early signs of pain or when the horse is suppressing its pain response in the presence of threatening stimuli. However evolution has equipped humans with the ability to recognise emotions through facial expressions and the authors attempt to use this to identify what they term an ‘equine pain face'. Video and still recordings were made of horses in which pain was induced either through a tourniquet on the foreleg or by the topical application of an irritant, capsaicin. Changes in facial expression were apparent with both groups and whether or not an observer was present. When humans were nearby, the horses increased their contact- seeking behaviour Facial indicators of pain in horses were found to include low and/or asymmetrical ears, an angled appearance of the eyes, a withdrawn or tense stare, mediolaterally dilated nostrils, and tension of the lips, chin and certain facial muscles. These observations may provide a practical tool for recognising pain in equine patients.

Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia 42(1), 103-114

Effectiveness of a steam cleaning unit for disinfection in a veterinary hospital

Cheryl Wood and others, BluePearl Kansas LLC, Overland Park, Kansas

Chemical disinfectants are generally used in veterinary clinics to eliminate microbial contamination from surfaces. But this approach does have significant limitations, particularly in the need for lengthy contact times. The authors investigate the potential value of a steam cleaning system as a faster alternative. Comparing treated and untreated surfaces there was a significant reduction in the bacterial load on dog runs and kennel floors, along with a substantial reduction in Pseudomonas levels on tub sinks. There was also a non-significant reduction in bacterial counts on a range of other surfaces.

American Journal of Veterinary Research 75(12), 1083-1088

Association between oral health status and retrovirus test results in cats

Mathew Kornya and others, University of Guelph, Ontario

Inflammatory oral disease is commonly seen in cats, and is known to be a complex, multifactorial condition involving dietary factors, oral bacterial flora, hypersensitivity to plaque antigens, immune status and viral infections. The authors examined the association between oral health and seropositivity to feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukaemia virus in 5,179 cats presenting at veterinary clinics and welfare shelters. Inflammatory oral disease was linked to a significantly increased risk of seropositivity to these two retroviruses. Therefore, the viral status of cats presenting with oral disease should be investigated and appropriate management introduced.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 245 (8), 916-922

Preoperative identification of puppies at risk of hypotension during neutering

Renata Costa and others, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia

Hypotension is the most frequent cardiovascular complication during anaesthesia in small animal clinics, ranging from 7% to 46% of cases, according to the definition used. The authors investigated the association between perioperative hypotension and various clinical parameters recorded on admission. Hypotension was identified during the neutering procedure in 52 out of a total of 75 puppies during the trial. Urine specific gravity an index of hydration, was negatively associated with mean arterial pressure, suggesting that subclinical dehydration may contribute to the risk of hypotension under general anaesthesia.

Australian Veterinary Journal 93(4), 99-104

Guidelines on pain management in canine and feline patients

Mark Epstein and others, Total Bond Veterinary Hospitals, Gastonia, North Carolina

Pain management is central to veterinary practice, enabling better animal welfare, improved patient outcomes and enhancing the relationship between veterinary staff and their clients. Advances in our understanding of both pharmacological and non-pharmacological pain control strategies over recent years encouraged the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners to update their guidelines on pain management in cats and dogs. The authors emphasise the importance of a team-orientated approach, involving the owner and clinicians in maximising the recognition, prevention and treatment of pain in veterinary patients.

Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 51 (2), 67-84

Continuous lidocaine wound infusion for pain management during and after spaying procedures

Juan Morgaz and others, University of Cordoba, Spain

In human patients undergoing abdominal surgery local administration of topical anaesthetics has been shown to provide excellent analgesia while reducing the requirement for opiate drugs. The authors used a continuous infusion of lidocaine through an abdominal wound catheter in bitches undergoing ovariohysterectomy and compared the analgesic effects with those from intramuscular methadone. These different approaches provided comparable results in a visual analogue pain scale measurements in the two groups, while a higher proportion of control animals required rescue analgesia. So the lidocaine infusion appears to be a promising analgesic option in veterinary surgery

The Veterinary Journal 202(3), 522-526

DOI: 10.1080/17415349.2015.1056284 

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 30 • August 2015 •