Veterinary professionals are being asked to help with a new study aimed at improving the early detection of pain in cats.

Cat pain flyerThe “Understanding Cat Pain Project” is being conducted by staff at the University of Lincoln who are seeking to identify reliable early signs of pain in cats – focusing in particular on their faces, to allow computer-aided recognition.

Project authors Daniel Mills and Lauren Finka are in the process of developing analytical techniques to facilitate rapid and reliable detection of pain, with the purpose of supporting the timely delivery of necessary treatments, as well as their improved efficacy.

Video evidence

In a large-scale data collection initiative, they are now asking vets and nurses, with the permission of owners, to provide them with short 30 second videos and/or photos of cats that are considered to be in pain, and then again (where practical) at a time when the same cat is considered to be pain free.

They are also seeking video and stills from cats that have been certified as pain free – for example, following a health check prior to vaccination.

Points mean prizes

The initial data collection period is scheduled to run until the end of July of this year, when participants will be placed in a draw to win an iPad, iPods and Kindles. The more usable data contributed by participants, the greater the number of entries an individual will have in the draw and so better the chance of winning a prize.

Any vets or nurses interested in taking part in this initiative should get in touch in the first instance with Lauren Finka at the University of Lincoln at lfinka@lincoln.ac.uk.

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