Preliminary survey of the attitudes of Brazilian scientists towards pain management and assessment in animals used in science



      To investigate the current scenario in Brazil regarding pain assessment and control in experimental animals.

      Study design

      Prospective survey.


      A confidential questionnaire was available online and sent by e-mail to Brazilian scientists working with animal experimentation in Brazil. Data collection was conducted from October 2016 to October 2017. The exclusion criteria included blank questionnaires or with <80% completed responses, researchers not performing experiments involving animals and foreign scientists.


      A total of 96 questionnaires from 104 respondents were analyzed. The Fisher’s exact test showed a disparity between the proportions of scientists who recognized the importance of analgesia and their application of analgesic techniques in painful procedures (p < 0.0003), and also for the researchers who assumed that experiments inflicted pain and their classification of the degree of invasiveness (p < 0.0001), indicating their insufficient knowledge of these topics. Overall, 77% of institutions did not offer specific training to assess pain in experimental animals, and 24% of respondents had no training to work with animal experimentation. In total, 62% of the studies inflicted pain, 48% of respondents used pain scales, and the drugs administered most frequently for pain management were morphine (44%), meloxicam (43%) and tramadol (37%); 15% of respondents did not include analgesics even though their studies inflicted pain. Commonly used animals were rats (33%), mice (29%) and rabbits (8%).

      Conclusions and clinical relevance

      The results of this preliminary survey indicated that in Brazil there is a gap in the knowledge and training on pain assessment and management of experimental animals. Therefore, there is a necessity for an educational program to prepare and train scientists to assess and manage pain in laboratory or experimental animals. Further studies using a psychometrically validated survey instrument are warranted.


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