A veterinary nurse has achieved a world first in the development of an acute pain assessment tool for cats.

Gillian Calvo, senior practitioner nurse at Fitzpatrick Referrals.

Gillian Calvo, senior practitioner nurse at Fitzpatrick Referrals n Surrey, has had her paper “Development of a behaviour-based measurement tool with defined intervention level for assessing acute pain in cats” published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice.

Following the previous success of the behaviour-based Glasgow CMPS-SF for dogs, now generally accepted as a clinical standard for the measurement of acute pain in that species, a cat tool was constructed using similar psychometric methodology.

It has taken Mrs Calvo and a team of world-renowned specialists in the field of pain management years of work to develop and refine the Composite Measure Pain Scale – Feline (CMPS-F) which is the world’s first valid instrument based on psychometric analysis with a recommended analgesic intervention level to assess acute clinical pain in cats.

The CMPS-F tool assesses acute pain in six behavioural categories:

  • vocalization;
  • activity/posture;
  • attention to wound;
  • response to people;
  • response to touch;
  • and demeanour.

Each of these categories is given a score and a total score out of a possible 16 is derived. Users should consider intervention with analgesia if a total score of 4 or higher is scored.

Mrs Calvo and the team also evaluated facial expression as an indicator of acute pain in cats.

This study was the first to demonstrate facial features could be used to determine acute pain in cats resulting in a second publication “Evaluation of facial expression in acute pain in cats” in the same issue of the journal.

The team intend to further develop the CMPS-F tool to include the incorporation of a facial expression component with the intention of improving sensitivity of the scale.

Mrs Calvo said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been part of the development of this ground-breaking CMPS-F tool which is available for veterinary professionals to use as an adjunct to their clinical judgement when assessing acute pain in cats.

“I feel immensely privileged to have had the opportunity to be the voice for so many felines and can’t wait to see the difference the CMPS-F tool will make to the lives of so many cats, vets and vet nurses worldwide.”

Both publications can be viewed at http://bit.ly/1AOLfRm

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