Pain is a multidimensional sensory phenomenon that has evolved as a protective method for maintaining homeostasis and facilitating tissue repair. Both excitatory and inhibitory physiologic and pathologic mechanisms are involved in its generation and maintenance. Untreated pain and nervous system changes (plasticity) that occur during chronic pain make pain much more difficult or impossible to effectively treat. Therapies directed toward the treatment of pain should be mechanism based and preventative whenever possible. Prospective, randomized clinical trials conducted in horses that suffer from naturally occurring pain will help to determine the current best approaches to effective pain therapy.
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