Oliver, V. L., Athavale, S., Simon, K. E. et al. 2017. Evaluation of pain assessment techniques and analgesia efficacy in a female guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) model of surgical pain. JAALAS 56(4), 425-435.

Guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus) are a frequently used species in research, often involving potentially painful procedures. Therefore, evidence-based recommendations regarding analgesia are critically needed to optimize their wellbeing. Our laboratory examined the efficacy of carprofen and extended-release (ER) buprenorphine, alone and as a multimodal combination, for relieving postsurgical pain in guinea pigs. Animals were assessed by using evoked (mechanical hypersensitivity), nonevoked (video ethogram, cageside ethogram, time-to-consumption test), and clinical (weight loss) measurements for 96 h during baseline, anesthesia–analgesia, and hysterectomy conditions. In addition, ER buprenorphine was evaluated pharmacologically. Guinea pigs treated with a single analgesic showed increased mechanical sensitivity for at least 96 h and indices of pain according to the video ethogram for as long as 8 h, compared with levels recorded during anesthesia–analgesia. In contrast, animals given both analgesics demonstrated increased mechanical sensitivity and behavioral evidence of pain for only 2 h after surgery compared with anesthesia–analgesia. The cageside ethogram and time-to-consumption tests failed to identify differences between conditions or treatment groups, highlighting the difficulty of identifying pain in guinea pigs without remote observation. Guinea pigs treated with multimodal analgesia or ER buprenorphine lost at least 10% of their baseline weights, whereas weight loss in carprofen animals was significantly lower (3%). Plasma levels for ER buprenorphine exceeded 0.9 ng/mL from 8 to 96 h after injection. Of the 3 analgesia regimens evaluated, multimodal analgesia provided the most effective pain control in guinea pigs. However the weight loss in the ER buprenorphine–treated animals may need to be considered during analgesia selection.

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