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Application of an equine composite pain scale and its association with plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone concentrations and serum cortisol concentrations in horses with colic

Lawson, A L; Opie, R R; Stevens, K B; Knowles, E J; Mair, T S

Authors

A L Lawson

R R Opie

K B Stevens

E J Knowles

T S Mair



Abstract

This study assessed the application of a modified equine composite pain scale (CPS) and identified the inter‐observer reliability. Associations between CPS scores and the measured concentrations of serum cortisol ([cortisol]) and plasma adrenocorticotrophic hormone ([ACTH]) in horses presenting with colic were determined. The study design was prospective, uni‐centred and observational. The inter‐observer reliability of the adapted CPS was determined for 59 horses hospitalised for a variety of conditions. The associations between CPS, ACTH and cortisol were assessed in a further 49 horses admitted for medical or surgical colic. During hospitalisation, blood samples were obtained each morning and analysed for serum [cortisol] and plasma [ACTH]. Horses were pain scored using the adapted CPS score. Data from the most painful time point (n = 48 horses; n = 48 [cortisol]; n = 44 [ACTH]) and all data time points (n = 49 horses and n = 133 time points) were used for analysis of association between [cortisol], [ACTH] and CPS score. The CPS score inter‐observer reliability was excellent (n = 59 horses; n = 102 pain scores; weighted kappa 0.863). CPS score and [cortisol] were positively associated at the most painful time point (P < 0.001) and at all data time points (P < 0.001). No significant association was found between CPS score and [ACTH]. [ACTH] was associated with [cortisol] (P = 0.034) when all time points were analysed but not when only the most painful point was analysed. The significant correlation identified between CPS score and [cortisol] in medical and surgical colic cases provides physiological validation of pain scores as a marker of underlying stress in horses with colic.

Citation

Lawson, A. L., Opie, R. R., Stevens, K. B., Knowles, E. J., & Mair, T. S. (2019). Application of an equine composite pain scale and its association with plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone concentrations and serum cortisol concentrations in horses with colic. Equine Veterinary Education, https://doi.org/10.1111/eve.13143

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 4, 2019
Publication Date Jul 23, 2019
Deposit Date Aug 2, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 23, 2020
Journal EQUINE VETERINARY EDUCATION
Print ISSN 0957-7734
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/eve.13143
Public URL https://rvc-repository.worktribe.com/output/1381116

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