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Development of the short-form Glasgow Composite Measure Pain Scale (CMPS-SF) and derivation of an analgesic intervention score

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The Glasgow Composite Measure Pain Scale (CMPS) for dogs suffering acute pain, developed using psychometric methodology, measures pain to a level of precision suitable for clinical trials. However, for routine clinical use, where the emphasis is on speed, ease of use, and guidance for analgesia provision, a short form (CMPS-SF) was developed. The CMPS-SF comprises six behavioural categories with associated descriptive expressions (items): vocalisation (4), attention to wound (5), mobility (5), response to touch (6), demeanour (5) and posture/activity (5). Items are placed in increasing order of pain intensity and numbered accordingly. The observer chooses that item within each category which best describes the dog's behaviour and ranked scores are summed; the maximum pain score is 24, or 20 if mobility is impossible to assess. Veterinary surgeons in Glasgow, University College Dublin and North Carolina Veterinary Schools completed the CMPS-SF for 122 dogs undergoing post-operative care and thereafter were asked "Do you think this animal requires analgesia? Yes/No". The population difference in median pain score, for dogs considered to require analgesia (seven) compared with those that did not (three), was highly statistically significant (P < 0.001). Consideration of a clinical decision-point for analgesia gave an intervention level of 6/24, and 5/20 when section B (mobility assessment) could not be carried out. Difficulties in recognising pain contribute to the sub-optimal use of analgesics in veterinary practice. The CMPS-SF provides a practical means of assessing acute post-operative pain and provides guidance with regard to analgesic requirement, so improving pain management and welfare. The CMPS-SF can be downloaded from the Glasgow Pain and Welfare website at
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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