Analgesia and Anesthesia

Analgesia and Anesthesia Introduction

Although the terms analgesia and anesthesia are often confused with one another, they refer to two different outcomes. Analgesia is the relief of pain without the loss of consciousness or sensation using analgesics (e.g., Aspirin, Carprofen, etc.). Anesthesia, on the other hand, is the loss of physical sensation with or without loss of consciousness using anesthetics (e.g., Ketamine, Propofol, Isoflurane, etc.). Both practices should be used in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act to ensure that pain and distress are minimized (7 U.S.C. § 2143 (a)(3A)(2020)) in animals used for research, testing, education, and exhibition. Treatment of pain should be tailored to the individual animal while taking the following factors into consideration: appropriate drug selection and dose, procedure, degree of pain, patient health status and any other contributing factors that you discuss with your institutional veterinarian. 

This section highlights some current analgesia and anesthesia best practices that can be referenced by individuals working with animals used for research, testing, education, and exhibition (i.e., the regulated community). AWIC also created the bibliography below on Analgesia and Anesthesia for Laboratory and Companion Animals that provides an extensive list of citations on current analgesia and anesthesia practices. 

** The resources provided are for reference. Please consult with your institution’s veterinarian prior to using analgesics and anesthetics.

Anesthesia and Analgesia Bibliographies

Anesthesia and Analgesia in Rabbits: A Resource Guide
USDA. NAL. Animal Welfare Information Center. 
This bibliography provides biomedical and veterinary literature on the use of anesthesia and analgesia in rabbits covering 2011 to 2021.

Anesthesia and Analgesia in Reptiles and Amphibians: A Resource Guide
USDA. NAL. Animal Welfare Information Center. 
This bibliography provides biomedical and veterinary literature on the use of anesthesia and analgesia in common reptile and amphibian species covering 2001 to 2021.

Anesthesia and Analgesia for Laboratory and Companion Animals 
USDA. NAL. Animal Welfare Information Center. 
This bibliography provides a review of literature (1992 to 2000) on anesthesia and analgesia.

Laboratory and Companion Animals

Guidelines on Anesthesia and Analgesia in Laboratory Swine 
Unit for Laboratory Animal Medicine (ULAM). University of Michigan.
These guidelines (reviewed in 2021) were prepared by the ULAM veterinary staff in accordance with Swindle MM. Swine in the Laboratory: Surgery, Anesthesia, Imaging and Experimental Technique, 3rd edition, to provide recommendations for anesthesia and analgesia in laboratory pigs. 
Pain Management in Large Animals 
Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI).
These 2021 recommendations focus on cattle, sheep, and pigs and provide an overview of pain management including assessment and treatment to improve animal welfare. 
Guidelines for Pain and Distress in Laboratory Animals (PDF | 239 KB)
National Institute of Health. Office of Animal Care and Use.
These guidelines (updated in 2020) discuss the ethical and legal responsibility of personnel involved with the use of animals in research to reduce or eliminate pain and distress in research animals. It also provides ways to both recognize pain and distress in research animals, as well as, intervene when pain and distress is observed in research animals. 
Laboratory Animal Anaesthesia (PDF | 4.55 MB)  
Comparative Biology Centre. Newcastle University.
This 3rd edition book (published in 2009) provides information on best practices in various aspects of laboratory animal anaesthesia. Some topics include techniques, equipment, and some basic guidelines for handling different species. 
Analgesic Best Practice for the Use of Animals in Research and Teaching - An Interpretive Literature Review  (PDF | 112 KB)
National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC).
NAEAC provides an update to the previous ‘Analgesic Best Practice for the Use of Animals in Research and Teaching- An Interpretative Literature Review written in 2002.
Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia, 5th Edition  
Lumb and Jones 5th Edition.
Veterinary anesthesia continues to evolve as a science and specialty within the veterinary profession. This book (published in 2015) discusses some of the most current best practices in anesthesia, analgesia, and pain management. 
American Animal Hospital Association Anesthesia and Monitoring Guidelines for Dogs and Cats 
American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).
These 2020 guidelines provide a framework for the safe delivery of anesthesia as a continuum to dogs and cats.

Wildlife, Zoo, and Marine Animals

Anesthesia and Pain Management in Exotic Exotics (Zoo Animals)  
VIN. World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress Proceedings.
In this 2017 paper, VIN discusses approaches to anesthesia, sedation and analgesia in wild vs. domesticated animals regarding a swift approach of administration vs. a titration approach. 
Comparative Anesthesia and Analgesia of Aquatic Mammals (PDF | 828 KB)   
Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia: The Fifth Edition of Lumb and Jones.
These guidelines reflect internationally acceptable and scientifically valid approaches to handling and treatment of marine mammals in field research. 
Guidelines for Field-Based Surgery and Anesthesia of Free-Ranging Wildlife   
Chinnadurai SK, Strahl-Heldreth D, Fiorello CV, Harms CA. Best-Practice Guidelines for Field-Based Surgery and Anesthesia of Free-Ranging Wildlife. I. Anesthesia and Analgesia. J Wildl Dis. 2016 Apr;52(2 Suppl):S14-27. doi: 10.7589/52.2S.S14. PMID: 26845296.
Field anesthesia is often needed for both invasive and noninvasive procedures on wild animals. In this 2016 paper, the authors describe basic principles of safe anesthetic delivery, monitoring and recovery in free-ranging wildlife.