ETRIS: Education & Training Resources in In-Vivo Sciences

Animal welfare & husbandry

Pain assessment: Grimace scales

Facial expressions are widely used in assess pain in human infants. Research animals experiencing pain also exhibit characteristic changes in facial expressions. For rodents, the five facial features that change include narrowing of the eyes (orbital tightening), and bulging or flattening of the cheeks and nose). Quantification of these changes using "Grimace Scales" provides both a reliable indices of the pain experienced by the research animal and a quicker and more robust alternative to the monitoring of behaviour or clinical signs. To date, grimace scales have been developed and validated for mice, rats and rabbits. Grimace scales for rhesus macaques, sheep, pigs and horses are currently under development.

Mice: Langford DJ et al. (2010) Nature Methods 7, 447-449.

Rat: Sotocinal SG et al]. (2011) Molecular Pain 7, 55.

Rabbit: Keating SCJ et al. (2012) Plos One 7 (9): e44437. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044437.

'Grimace scales' for mice and rats were developed by Dr Jeffrey Mogil from McGill University, Canada. The rabbit scale was subsequently developed by Dr Matt Leach and colleagues at Newcastle University, United Kingdom. These studies have been published in Nature Methods and, with copyright retained by these journals

These resources can be utilised by both researchers and individuals responsible for the welfare and husbandry of research animals.

Other resources in this category:

  • A Guide to the Behavior & Enrichment of Laboratory Rodents - view
  • Animal Welfare Information Center - view
  • Assessing animal welfare and suffering - view
  • Basic Assessment of Laboratory Animal Health and Welfare - view
  • Code of Practice for the Housing and Care of Animals Bred, Supplied or Used for Scientific Purposes - view
  • Common Marmoset care - view
  • Euthanasia of Animals - view
  • Extended Welfare Assessment Grid - view
  • Guide for the care and use of laboratory animals - view
  • Humane Endpoints - view
  • Mouse Welfare Terms - view
  • Pain assessment: Grimace scales - view
  • Recognising post-operative pain in animals - view
  • Recognition & prevention of pain, suffering and distress in laboratory animals - view
  • Recognizing Pain in Animals - view
  • Refining Dog Care - view
  • Rodent Reference Information - view
  • Severe Suffering - view
  • Severity Assessment Framework - view
  • Severity Assessment Road Map - view
  • The Macaque Website - view

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