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Pain-suppressed behaviors in the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)

By Jana E. Mazor-Thomas, Phyllis E. Mann, Alicia Z. Karas, Flo Tseng

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Our ability to provide analgesia in wild and exotic patients is hampered by a lack of species-specific information on effective drugs and protocols. One contributing factor is the difficulty of applying data from traditional laboratory tests of nociception to clinical conditions frequently involving combinations of inflammatory, mechanical, and neuropathic pain. Pain-suppressed behaviors have become a valuable predictor of clinical utility in other species; in this study we extend this framework to red-tailed hawks in a wildlife hospital, in an attempt to develop a new, humane testing method for birds of prey. We scored six behaviors in hawks hospitalized either for orthopedic trauma or for non-painful conditions. These behaviors included: movement about the cage, grooming, head motions, foot shifts, beak clacks, and rouse. Movement, head motions, and beak clacks were all significantly reduced in hawks with recent orthopedic injury, but not in hawks with healed or minor injuries (P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 152
Pages 83-91
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2013.12.011
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Birds
  2. Head
  3. opioids
  4. Pain