Postoperative pain and perioperative analgesic administration in dogs: practices, attitudes and beliefs of Queensland veterinarians

Aust Vet J. 2012 May;90(5):186-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-0813.2012.00901.x.


Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the practices, attitudes and beliefs of Queensland veterinarians in relation to postoperative pain and perioperative analgesia in dogs.

Methods: One veterinarian from each of the 50 randomly selected Queensland veterinary practices was enrolled after selection by convenience sampling.

Results: The study response rate was 94.3%. Demeanour, vocalisation and heart rate were the most common postoperative pain assessment tools used, even though the most sensitive tools were considered to be demeanour, heart rate and respiratory rate. Only 20% of respondents used formalised pain scoring systems. Preoperative analgesic administration was always used by 72% of respondents. There was marked variability in the frequency with which analgesia was administered perioperatively for ovariohysterectomy. Only 24% of veterinarians discharged animals with ongoing analgesia even though 38% agreed that pain is still present 7 days postoperatively. Multimodal analgesia was used by 82% of respondents. Epidural and local anaesthetic analgesic techniques were not being utilised by any respondents. Conclusions These results indicate that management of postoperative pain in dogs in Queensland is frequently suboptimal and, at times, is not consistent with the veterinarian's attitudes and beliefs. Continuing education into analgesic use and pain evaluation may be effective in addressing this.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / administration & dosage*
  • Animal Welfare
  • Animals
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Dogs / physiology
  • Dogs / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control
  • Pain, Postoperative / veterinary*
  • Perioperative Period
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Queensland
  • Veterinarians / psychology*


  • Analgesics