If you’re passionate about the well-being of your animal models, you have probably considered using an analgesic plan in your research. It’s an effective way to reduce and minimize pain in animal subjects.
So, does your particular study warrant the use of pain management? Or, if you’re already using analgesics in your animal research, are you applying the best practices? If you’re unsure, the former Chair of AAALAC International Board of Directors, Dr. Hilton Klein, has some advice for you.
Dr. Klein discusses the subject in our webinar, Current Practices for the Use of Analgesics in Laboratory Animal Medicine: An Emphasis on Rodents and Nonhuman Primates.
Here is a breakdown of Dr. Klein’s best practices when it comes to using analgesics in laboratory animal science.
The Welfare of Your Animal Models
If you’re considering using analgesics in your lab animal study, Dr. Klein explains that animal welfare should be your primary concern. Analgesics can vastly improve the comfort and well-being of animal models, making your research more humane.
You might avoid prescribing pain medicine because it could interfere with your study by creating more opportunities for variables, which is a valid concern. However, Klein explains how a well-made analgesic plan will reduce the risk of inaccuracy in your study.
He suggests, that if you’re going to be prescribing a pain management strategy, you should apply it to your control animals. Then, issues around the analgesic should come out in your markers and readouts.
Klein understands this isn’t an end-all solution. However, it’s worth discussing for the sake of animal welfare.
Accurately Prescribing Analgesics in Your Study
When creating an analgesic plan, it’s critical that you accurately prescribe the strength and quantity of the medication. For the welfare of your animal models, your medication regimen must properly address the specific nature of your study.
For example, inserting a catheter is a relatively quick procedure, with some discomfort. So, your analgesic prescription should be relatively mild. For studies that involve more invasive procedures, you should increase your analgesic accordingly.
Overall, you need to make sure your analgesic plan accurately reduces pain and improves animal welfare. To do so, you need to evaluate the potential types of pain and lengths of pain that might be associated with your study.
Make Sure Your Analgesic Plan is Realistic
Lastly, if you decide to use analgesics in your study, Dr. Klein urges you to make sure your plan is realistic. Here’s what you need to consider.
Can you actually comply with the dosing regimen you create? For example, if you plan on administering a pain medication every four hours, someone will need to administer pain medication at 2 am, which might not be practical.
So, to better execute your plan, consider the operational hours of your facility, the staffing, and the number of animals you use. Then, you can make the best decision for your exact needs.
More From Our Webinar: Dr. Hilton Klein Recommends Comparative Medicine
Dr. Klein suggests keeping the Special Topic Issue of Comparative Medicine nearby. It’s a great resource for all biomedical research professionals.