Pain management is important for optimal convalescence and is imperative for good horse welfare. Some veterinary procedures inevitably cause moderate to severe pain and some performance problems are the result of undiagnosed painful conditions. Recognising pain may pose a greater challenge than successfully alleviating it because it is an individual emotional experience. Recent research has found that behavioural traits are the most informative clinical sign when assessing pain in horses, which makes pain evaluation dependant on the observational skills of the veterinarian and the patient’s owner. This article describes the pain process and how to evaluate behavioural changes that are associated with pain in horses.
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