Main content area

Quantitative sensory testing in dogs with painful disease: A window to pain mechanisms?

Hunt, James, Knazovicky, David, Lascelles, B. Duncan X., Murrell, Jo
The veterinary journal 2019 v.243 pp. 33-41
analgesics, cold, dogs, heat, pain, sensory evaluation
Evaluation of the response to externally applied physical stimuli, such as pressure, heat, or cold is termed quantitative sensory testing (QST). QST may be used to identify and quantify alterations (gain or loss) in function of the sensory systems which detect and mediate these phenomena in both man and animals, and potentially discriminate peripheral and central sensitisation. It has been postulated that evaluation of QST parameters may predict response to analgesics, ultimately increasing the individualisation of treatment for pain. However, while there do appear to be correlations between QST measures and responses to analgesics in man, there is currently insufficient evidence to recommend QST to direct clinical treatments. The use of psychophysical testing, such as QST, in non-verbal subjects presents additional challenges, and requires familiarity with species and individual responses. This narrative review describes the investigations into QST in clinical populations of dogs to date, and discusses the potential benefits and limitations of such testing.