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Colorado State University

Veterinary Medical Center
Canine Chronic Pain Scale

Many signs of chronic pain are non-specific; rule out anxiety, poor general health, and systemic disease as part of a full workup.

Pain Score Example Psychological & Behavioral Postural Response to Palpation

0 Happy, energetic
Comfortable when resting Minimal body tension
Interested in or curious about
Stands and walks normally Does not mind touch
Normal weight bearing on No reaction to palpation of joint
Responsive; seeks
all limbs

1 Subdued to slightly unsettled

or restless
Distracted easily by surroundings
Stands normally, may
occasionally shift weight
Mild body tension
Does not mind touch except painful area
Responsive; may not Slight lameness when Turns head in recognition of joint palpation
initiate interaction walking

Anxious, uncomfortable
Not eager to interact with people Abnormal weight distribution Mild to moderate body tension
or surroundings but will look when standing Doesnt mind touch far away from

2 around to see what is going on Moderate lameness when painful area

Loss of brightness in eyes walking Pulls limb away during palpation of
Reluctant to respond when May be uncomfortable affected joint
beckoned at rest Reassess analgesic plan

Fearful, agitated, or aggressive Abnormal posture when Moderate body tension

Avoids interaction with people standing Tolerates touch far away from
and surroundings Does not bear weight on affected limb
May lick or otherwise attend to affected limb when walking Vocalizes or responds aggressively to
3 painful area Guards painful area by
shifting body position
palpation of affected joint
Reassess analgesic plan

Stuporous, depressed Moderate to severe body tension

Reluctant to rise and will not
Potentially unresponsive to Dislikes or barely tolerates any touch
walk more than 5 strides
surroundings (may be experiencing allodynia, wind-up, or
Does not bear weight on limb
Difficult to distract from pain fearful that pain could be made worse)
Appears uncomfortable
Will not allow palpation of joint
at rest
Reassess analgesic plan
Additional Comments:

2008/ NG Robinson, SL Shaver Supported by an Unrestricted Educational Grant from Pfizer Animal Health