June 2024



Pain and distress in laboratory animals

Understanding, preventing and alleviating pain and distress is a key part of the responsibilities of many animal care staff. This may involve directly evaluating the welfare state of animals and implementing refinements to their care or participating in the ethical review process and contributing to the harm: benefit analysis of research projects.

This unit provides an overview of pain and distress in laboratory animals, gives an introduction to pain and nociception, and current concepts of animal welfare. It provides detailed information on evaluating and managing pain in rodents, and an overview of pain in larger species and in non-mammalian species. The evaluation of severity of research procedures is discussed, together with the issues surrounding cumulative severity and retrospective assessment of procedures.

Online only – Zoom 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th June 2024. Access to all material two weeks in advance. 

You will cover

  • Current concepts:  pain, distress and animal welfare
  • Normal behavior
  • Methods for assessing and recording the welfare of animals
  • Humane end points
  • Severity classifications
  • Team approach
  • Minimising pain and distress

Key Skills you will develop

  • An understanding of current concepts of pain and distress and animal welfare
  • Ability to recognise normal or desirable behaviour and appearance of animals, and abnormal behaviour and signs of discomfort, pain, suffering, or distress
  • Ability to describe what a humane end point is and discuss their use  
  • Ability to describe the severity classifications
  • Knowledge and understanding of the use of refinement to minimize welfare concerns
  • Knowledge and understanding of effective welfare assessment strategies
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Course Details

  • Course Length: 300 hours
  • Credits: 30
  • Unit Number: U6.6
  • Teacher: Paul flecknell / Matt Leach



Complete form to enrol for: Pain and distress in laboratory animals