Course catalogue doctoral education - VT23

  • Application can be done between 2022-10-17 and 2022-11-15
Application closed
Title Assessing and Alleviating Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals
Course number 3221
Programme 0-Not part of doctoral programme
Language English
Credits 1.0
Notes A Laboratory Animal Science course.

Date 2023-03-28 -- 2023-03-30
Responsible KI department Comparative medicine
Specific entry requirements Completed the “Function A” laboratory animal science course (“to carry out scientific procedures on animals”), or completed an equivalent training.
Purpose of the course The course provides advanced training in the recognition, prevention and alleviation of pain and distress in laboratory species. The main purpose of the course is to enable participants to apply and assess the value of improvements to the methods used in research projects that involve the use of live animals. Implementing such improvements is a key element in Refining animal research – a legal and ethical requirement of Swedish and European legislation.
Intended learning outcomes After completion of this course, the students should be able to apply refinements effectively. They will also be able to evaluate protocols to determine what additional modifications could be made to improve animal welfare. They should also appreciate the ethical, scientific and practical issues involved in assessing and preventing pain and distress.
Contents of the course The course provides a broad understanding of the physiology of pain and distress, concepts of consciousness in animals, and means of assessing pain and distress in animals. Key details on the pharmacology of analgesic agents is provided to underpin selection of appropriate treatment regimens in laboratory species. The potential confounding effects of pain, distress, and analgesic use on research protocols will be described, together with means of avoiding these confounding effects.
Teaching and learning activities The course will adopt a blended learning approach that combines e-learning, seminar lectures, discussions and interactive sessions.

Four e-learning modules on assessment of pain and distress and management of perioperative pain will be included in the course. In addition, seminars will provide information on:

• What we know about pain and distress in people and animals, and an introduction to the physiology of pain and nociception.
• How methods of assessing pain and distress have evolved, and provide an up-to-date summary of the methods that can be used in a range of different species.

• How we can assess distress and the general welfare state of animals, and how the use of score sheets can provide more structured and reliable assessments.

• How different types of analgesic act to reduce or eliminate pain, and the practicalities of managing pain in a research setting.

• Methods of reducing, avoiding or alleviating pain and distress by improving periprocedural care, and by refinement of research procedures.

• Why analgesics may be withheld in some research protocols, and explain how some of these barriers to effective pain relief can be overcome.

The seminars incorporate video material and interactive tuition in assessing pain and distress. The course also includes problem-solving sessions, which encourage students to reflect on the application of the course content in their own research area, and encourages them to discuss and explain their work with other participants.
Compulsory elements All face-to-face sessions and active contribution to the course are compulsory if the student is to be provided with certification of the successful completion of the course. Completion of all e-learning modules is also a requirement. Missed parts of the course as a consequence of a well-justified absence will need to be compensated after agreement with the course director e.g. with a written assignment or in future course editions.
Examination Formative assessment during the face-to-face sessions, summative quizzes in the e-modules and a summative short answer/multiple choice question final written examination is held following conclusion of the course.
Literature and other teaching material Handbook
1. Flecknell, PA, (2015) Laboratory Animal Anaesthesia, Elsevier, 4th Edition, New York.

1. Descovich, Kris A., et al. "Facial expression: An under-utilised tool for the assessment of welfare in mammals." ALTEX (2017).
2. Faller, Kiterie ME, et al. "Refinement of analgesia following thoracotomy and experimental myocardial infarction using the Mouse Grimace Scale." Experimental physiology 100.2 (2015): 164-172.
3. National Research Council of the National Academies (2009). Recognition and Alleviation of Pain in Laboratory Animals, National Academies Press, Washington D.C.
Number of students 6 - 12
Selection of students Selection will be based on the relevance of the course syllabus for the applicant's doctoral project, which will be according to written motivation. If necessary, additional selection criterium will be used based on the date for registration as a doctoral student (priority given to earlier registration date).
More information This 3-day course will be held by distance learning between approx. 10 am and 4 pm. The main instructors of this course are internationally-recognized experts Professor Paul Flecknell, MA, VetMB, PhD, DECLAM, DLAS, DECVA, (Hon) DACLAM, (Hon) FRCVS, author of the Handbook Laboratory Animal Anaesthesia, 4th Edition, and Matthew Leach, Ph.D., Lecturer, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
Additional course leader
Latest course evaluation Course evaluation report
Course responsible Rafael Frias
Comparative medicine
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