WSAVA Focuses on Stopping Pain in Animals

48 veterinary organizations throw their support behind new pain management guidelines.

A 59-page document that outlines pain management protocols for a wide range of patients—from dogs with degenerative joint disease to cats suffering from cancer—is winning the endorsement of veterinary organizations worldwide.

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s Global Pain Council last week unveiled the “Guidelines for the Recognition, Assessment and Management of Pain” and urged WSAVA’s 92 member associations to support the document’s recommendations.

Several dozen representatives did so at the start of WSAVA’s World Congress, raising to 48 the total number to organizations backing the guidelines.

Managing pain effectively was the theme of the 2015 World Congress, which drew more than 4,000 people to Bangkok and wrapped up today.

The organization’s president-elect, Walt Ingwersen, DVM, DVSc, Dipl. ACVIM, stressed the importance of what the Global Pain Council accomplished.

“There is a wide variation in pain assessment and management around the world and we must work together to eliminate this variation because the ability to actually diagnose pain is certainly not dependent on regional differences and is a skill we all share,” Dr. Ingwersen said.

The guidelines may be downloaded at

Among the 92 member organizations is the American Veterinary Medical Association, whose WSAVA representative, Laurel Kaddatz, DVM, of Pound Ridge, N.Y., attended the World Congress. He declined to endorse the guidelines for the time being.

“A review process is needed to ensure that documents like this are not in conflict with any current policies at AVMA, nor in conflict with standards of practice or practice acts in our members’ various jurisdictions,” Dr. Kaddatz said.

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