Preliminary survey of the attitudes of Brazilian scientists towards pain management and assessment in animals used in science
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Objective: To investigate the current scenario in Brazil regarding pain assessment and control in experimental animals. Study design: Prospective survey. Methods: 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. Results: 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.