Survey of Pain Knowledge and Analgesia in Dogs and Cats by Colombian Veterinarians

Carlos Morales-Vallecilla, Ram Nicolas, David Villar, D Maria Camila, Sandra Bustamante, Duncan Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A questionnaire study was conducted among 131 veterinarians practicing in the city of Medellin, Colombia, to assess views on pain evaluation and management in dogs and cats. When pain recognition and quantification abilities were used as a perceived competence of proper pain assessment, only 83/131 (63.4%, confidence interval (CI) 0.55-0.72) were deemed to have satisfactory skills, with the rest considered to be deficient. There were 49/131 (37.4) veterinarians who had participated in continuing education programs and were more confident assessing pain, with an odds ratio (±standard error) of 2.84 ± 1.15 (p = 0.01; CI 1.27-6.32). In addition, the odds of using pain scales was 4.28 ± 2.17 (p < 0.01, CI 1.58-11.55) greater if they had also participated in continuing education programs. The term multimodal analgesia was familiar to 77 (58.7%) veterinarians who also claimed to use more than one approach to pain control. Nevertheless, homeopathy was the preferred alternative approach in 71/77 (92%). There were major misconceptions on side effects and/or contraindications for use of opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by most veterinarians. In addition, the lack of multimodal analgesia by at least 40% of the practitioners, combined with heavy reliance on weak analgesics (i.e., tramadol) or those with no proven record of efficacy (homeopathic remedies), denotes major deficits in education at the undergraduate level and a need for additional continuing education designed to fulfill the gaps in knowledge identified in this study, and overcome ideological convictions not supported by scientific evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6
Number of pages11
JournalVeterinary Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Analgesia
  • Cats
  • Colombia
  • Dogs
  • Epidemiological survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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