Intraoperative nociception-antinociception monitors: A review from the veterinary perspective

  • Patricia Ruíz-López
    Correspondence: Patricia Ruíz-López, Animal Medicine and Surgery Department, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Francisco Santisteban building. Rabanales Campus. University of Córdoba, National Highway IV km, 396-a, ES-14014, Córdoba, Spain.
    Anaesthesiology Unit, Animal Medicine and Surgery Department, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain
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  • Juan Manuel Domínguez
    Anaesthesiology Unit, Animal Medicine and Surgery Department, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain
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  • María del Mar Granados
    Anaesthesiology Unit, Animal Medicine and Surgery Department, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain
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Published:November 16, 2019DOI:



      To review monitors currently available for the assessment of nociception-antinociception in veterinary medicine.

      Databases used

      PubMed, Web of Science and Google Scholar. The results were initially filtered manually based on the title and the abstract.


      The provision of adequate antinociception is difficult to achieve in veterinary anaesthesia. Currently, heart rate and arterial blood pressure are used to monitor the response to a noxious stimulus during anaesthesia, with minimum alveolar concentration-sparing effect and stress-related hormones used for this purpose in research studies. However, since none of these variables truly assess intraoperative nociception, several alternative monitoring devices have been developed for use in humans. These nociceptive-antinociceptive monitoring systems derive information from variables, such as electroencephalography, parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) response, sympathetic nervous system response and electromyography. Several of these monitoring systems have been investigated in veterinary medicine, although few have been used to assess intraoperative nociception in animals. There is controversy regarding their effectiveness and clinical use in animals. A nociceptive-antinociceptive monitoring system based on the PNS response has been developed for use in cats, dogs and horses. It uses the parasympathetic tone activity index, which is believed to detect inadequate intraoperative nociception-antinociception balance in veterinary anaesthesia. Nonetheless, there are limited published studies to date, and cardiovascular variables remain the gold standard. Consequently, further studies in this area are warranted.


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