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Evaluation of a short duration behaviour-based post-operative pain scoring system in rats

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Johnny RoughanORCiD, Emeritus Professor Paul FlecknellORCiD


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We have recently demonstrated dose-related analgesic-induced reductions in the occurrence of 7 behavioural activities following midline laparotomy in rats. For these behaviours to be useful in evaluating pain in laboratory rats they must be shown to occur after different types of surgery, and frequently enough to allow rapid scoring of animals. Here, the relevant behaviours were used to test the analgesic efficacy of meloxicam with a variation of our previous laparotomy model. As part of an unrelated project, 57 male Fischer rats were divided into groups to receive either saline (0.2 ml/100 kg s/c), meloxicam (0.5, 1 or 2 mg/kg s/c) or carprofen (2.5, 5, or 10 mg/kg s/c) 1 h before surgery. Behaviour data were collected for 10 min following 25 min of recovery from isoflurane anaesthesia. The cumulative frequencies of back arching, fall/stagger, writhe and poor gait were used to compute a composite behaviour score. Irrespective of whether analyses included only 5 or all 10 min of the observation period, the relevant behaviours occurred significantly more often in rats given saline or low dose meloxicam than in those given 1 or 2 mg/kg of meloxicam, or any dose of carprofen. We conclude that this technique of quantifying post-surgery behaviour is an effective pain scoring method following abdominal surgery in rats, and that 1 mg/kg meloxicam significantly attenuates laparotomy induced pain. Since only a short observation period is required, this approach represents an important practical advance in assessing abdominal pain severity and clinical drug potency. © 2002 European Federation of Chapters of the International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Roughan JV, Flecknell PA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Pain

Year: 2003

Volume: 7

Issue: 5

Pages: 397-406

ISSN (print): 1090-3801

ISSN (electronic): 1532-2149

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/S1090-3801(02)00140-4

PubMed id: 12935791


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