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A Painful Reminder

04/06/2018 - Latest News


APBC Annual Conference 2016.

This was the first time I had the opportunity to attend the annual APBC conference so I was unsure what to expect, it didn’t disappoint! 
Kicking things off was Clare Rusbridge BVMS PhD DipECVN MRCVS RCVS giving a fascinating insight into the Neurobiology of Pain. 
Clare explained physiological, inflammatory and neuropathic pain in detail utilising interesting real life case studies and examples. The explanation of the pain matrix was a particularly useful inclusion for explaining the link between pain not just being an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience but having an inherent behavioural component.
We were then able to explore in more detail with videos and diagrams the difficulties and possible treatment options for self-perpetuating chronic pain, Chiari malformation, Syringomyelia and Feline orofacial pain syndrome. The potential behaviours exhibited by animals suffering these conditions and how they can be misinterpreted as ‘dominance’ or aggression were discussed using examples and videos. 
Following a quick refuel of coffee and the chance to explore the stands and bag some bargains we were treated to a talk by Sarah Heath BVSc DipECAWBM(BM) CCAB MRCVS examining the relationship between Pain and Behaviour. 
Sarah highlighted the Importance of taking a full chronological history for all behaviour cases to rule out pain and subsequent associative learning being at the root cause of behaviour deemed abnormal.
We were then introduced to the Glasgow pain score as a useful tool to assess pain and behaviour change as a primary indicator of pain in dogs.
Sarah used case studies and videos to demonstrate the importance of gait analysis in different contexts to demonstrate orthopaedic problems in dogs with behavioural problems. The difficulty for professionals is that the resolution of pain does not necessarily equate to the resolution of the behaviour. 
Sarah gave practical considerations for handling and dealing with dogs in pain to reduce the chance of long term behaviour consequences.
The challenge of detecting pain in cats and the role of osteoarthritis and dental pain as a source of behaviour change in cats was the next part of Sarah’s talk. Using real life examples she spoke about the behavioural consequences of pain in felines which are often attributed to personality traits or laziness. The need to monitor subtle changes in cat behaviour was highlighted alongside medication and environment modification. Practical considerations were given for handling and managing a cat in pain.

The final talk before lunch was by Helen Zulch BVSc(Hons) DipECAWBM(BM) CCAB FHEA MRCVS who explained techniques and strategies to help owners and professionals maintain good behavioural health in dogs experiencing painful conditions. She highlighted the sorts of behaviour problems encountered and the logical reasons with which they can occur. Research is limited in non human animals but using scientific principles it can be seen that behavioural problems seen as a manifestation of Pain may outlive the painful event. It is important therefore to reduce the incidence of behavioural problems related to pain before they start. 
Helen offered strategies to minimise unwanted learning by offering distractions, preparation, predictability, control and choice. Helen talked about ways to reduce negative mood and increase positive mood in dogs. 
Following lunch Joanne Boddy B.A BCc MCSP Cat A ACPAT spoke about how physiotherapists assess and treat pain in cats and dogs. 
Joanne showed examples of assessment tools and questionnaires to assist in determining the severity and impact of pain on the dog. Gait analysis, muscle mass, weight distribution and degree of joint motion as well as responses to touch and functional assessment were explained. 
Following assessment methods, physiotherapy techniques including massage, joint mobilisation/manipulation, Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, low level laser therapy, laser acupuncture and exercise techniques were discussed. 
Finally the importance of referrals to accredited ACPAT physiotherapists was highlighted. 
Questions were answered and this informative, well attended conference was brought to a close with some final words from Rosie Barclay.A