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Clinical validation of UNESP-Botucatu pain scale for assessing pain in horses by inexperienced observer

Grant number: 18/14100-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2018
Effective date (End): September 30, 2019
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Veterinary Medicine - Animal Clinics and Surgery
Principal researcher:Stelio Pacca Loureiro Luna
Grantee:Thamiris Kristine Gonzaga da Rocha
Home Institution: Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia (FMVZ). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Botucatu. Botucatu , SP, Brazil


Pain is one's sensorial and emotional experience that must be recognized in order to not become pathological and harmful to the animal. But, for horses, pain assessment is still not well elucidated and remains a challenge, since they tend not to demonstrate pain clearly. Multidimensional composite scales that analyze both physiological and behavioral parameters seem to be the best method to correctly identify pain, but there are still disadvantages as the need of experience to use them. Based on the hypothesis that an unexperienced observer is able to apply the UNESP-Botucatu multidimensional pain scale for assessing pain in equines with the same reliability as experienced observers, this study objectifies validate this multidimensional scale through its use by an unexperienced observer. For this, two observers will apply the refined scale in patients admitted in the Veterinary Hospital to elective or emergency surgeries. Forty-two animals submitted to inhalational or total intravenous anesthesia, depending on the nature of surgery, will be evaluated. Evaluations will be in the baseline, 3 hours after surgery, 1 hour after analgesia and 24 hours after surgery ending. Concurrent validity will be evaluated comparing this study's pain scale with another validated pain scale through Spearman correlation coefficient. In order to determine observers reliability, the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and the two factor model with absolute concordance criteria will be used. Values will be interpreted by Altman's classification. Construct validity will be evaluated by hypothesis testing: the first hypothesis dictates that scores after the surgical procedures must be higher than the ones of the baseline, whereas the second and third hypothesis that scores must decline after analgesia and over time. Scores will be put as medians and Wilcoxon test will be used to analyze scale's significance and responsiveness.

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