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Validity and responsiveness of a multidimensional composite scale to assess postoperative pain in cats

Adequate pain management depends on accurate assessment methods. The aim of this study was to evaluate the validity and responsiveness of a multidimensional composite scale for use in assessing postoperative pain in cats undergoing ovariohysterectomy. Thirty cats were video recorded in four predetermined moments during the perioperative period: prior to surgery, before and after rescue analgesia postoperatively, and 24 hours after the end of surgery. Five observers blind to the times of assessment, and a gold standard observer (researcher who developed the scale) viewed the video segments in a random order, and the cat's pain scores were registered using the scale to be validated. The content and construct validity, and the responsiveness were established based on significant increase and reduction in the pain scores, in response to surgery and analgesics administration, respectively (Wilcoxon signed rank test, P<0.001). Criterion validity was determined by high agreement between the evaluations of the gold standard with the other observers, assessed by the percentage of absolute agreement and weighted Kappa coefficient. The findings support the validity and the responsiveness of a multidimensional composite scale to assess postoperative acute pain in cats undergoing ovariohysterectomy, when used by veterinarians with clinical experience.

pain; scales; validity; responsiveness; cats

Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Escola de Veterinária Caixa Postal 567, 30123-970 Belo Horizonte MG - Brazil, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2041, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2042 - Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil