Pain Induced by a Minor Medical Procedure (Bone Marrow Aspiration) in Dogs: Comparison of Pain Scales in a Pilot Study

  • Guillot M
  • Rialland P
  • Nadeau M
 et al. 
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BACKGROUND: Bone marrow aspiration (BMA) is a clinical procedure frequently performed in dogs.

OBJECTIVE: To compare levels of pain intensity induced by 3 different BMA procedures using several pain scoring instruments.

ANIMALS: Sixteen healthy Beagles.

METHODS: A prospective experimental pilot study was conducted using blinded observers. Dogs were randomized into 3 groups: iliac BMA under sedation (Iliac-Sed, n = 4), sternum BMA under sedation (Stern-Sed, n = 4), and sternum BMA on conscious dogs without sedation (Stern-No-Sed, n = 8).

RESULTS: Using the SF-Glasgow pain scale, the overall pain score in the Stern-No-Sed group was lower than that in the Stern-Sed group (P = 0.04). Using the 4A-VET pain scale, the effects of procedures over time on pain scores did not differ between and within groups. An inactivity index indicated that the overall score for the Stern-No-Sed group was significantly lower than the scores for the Stern-Sed and Iliac-Sed groups (P ≤ 0.01). There was a significant association in pain assessment using the SF-Glasgow and 4A-VET pain scales (P = 0.0004). When comparing the SF-Glasgowscale to the 4A-VET pain scale, the scores for the Stern-No-Sed group were lower compared to those of the Stern-Sed scores (P = 0.03). Based on telemetered motor activity, the Iliac-Sed group may have experienced more discomfort during the post-procedural period.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Dogs may experience mild to moderate pain after BMA procedures, and the sternal site should be preferred. The SF-Glasgow pain scale showed better interobserver reliability, but the 4A-VET scale was less biased by sedation.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Canine
  • Fine needle aspiration
  • Pain assessment
  • Telemetry

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