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Pain assessment in horses from the perspective of veterinarians and practitioners: a multi-centre study

Grant number: 18/03292-6
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2018
Effective date (End): July 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Veterinary Medicine - Animal Clinics and Surgery
Principal researcher:Adriano Bonfim Carregaro
Grantee:Adriano Bonfim Carregaro
Host: Kate Louise White
Home Institution: Faculdade de Zootecnia e Engenharia de Alimentos (FZEA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Pirassununga , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Nottingham, University Park, England  


The study aims to validate chronic pain scale(s) for horses, easily applicable by both veterinarians and practitioners. The study will be performed in three steps, carried out in Brazil and the United Kingdom. Step 1 - Validation of chronic pain scale. Twenty-four people (12 from each country) will be selected, equally divided into veterinarians, caregivers and users (work or sport). Participants will describe words related to horse pain and also correlate other signs, available in a predetermined list. The content validation will be performed by three experienced horse veterinarians and they will standardize it for Portuguese and English languages. The validation of the scale will be performed by the horses' veterinarians and caregivers, and also by the main researcher. They will analyse videos from 45 horses, 15 without pain, 15 with low back pain and 15 with chronic pain due to laminitis. Inter-rater reliability and scale responsiveness among the groups of animals will be tested. Step 2 - Application of the chronic pain scale by different observers. The validate scale from step 1 will be tested by six experienced observers, one veterinarian, one caregiver and one user (from each country), as well as the main researcher. Pain assessment will be done by video from 30 horses, 10 animals from each group. Intra- and inter-rated reliability and scale responsiveness will be tested according to step 1. Step 3 - Validation of the Qualitative Behavioural Assessment (QBA) to identify chronic pain in horses. Eight experienced observers will determine the terms related to horse behaviour (free choice profiling) as positive, neutral and negative, by means of evaluation of 20 videos. Afterwards, the relevant terms will be selected, according to the intra- and inter-rated reliability, which will compose the QBA. The validation of QBA will be done through video analysed from step 2. Six experienced observers will be selected, one veterinarian, one caregiver and one user (from each country), as well as the main researcher, who will check each QBA term from those videos. Intra- and inter-rated reliability and also the comparison among three groups of animals will be done, in order to test the responsiveness of this new tool. It will be expected to validate the scale(s) for chronic pain assessment in horses, especially by practitioners to detect animals with chronic pain, decreasing the time between injury detection and beginning of the treatment. (AU)

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