A week of pain management education will reduce suffering in Chinese veterinary practices

23 October 2019

Pain management education by Animals Asia

On Monday evening 16 September, the China Bear Rescue Centre’s Senior Vet Surgeon, Emily “Eddie” Drayton  and Senior Vet Support Manager, Wen Yan, began a week long veterinary training tour. 

They began by giving a talk to university students in TaiZhou near Nanjing. There was a good turn out with 150 vet students and post graduates attending. However at the beginning of the presentation there were very few students with an understanding of key animal welfare principles. For example, none of the students had any awareness of the five freedoms of animal welfare. The five freedoms are:

  1. Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition
  2. Freedom of discomfort
  3. Freedom of pain and disease
  4. Freedom to express themselves
  5. Freedom of fear and stress

The next day our team visited a teaching hospital in TaiZhou, which was very well equipped but somewhat under utilised. The day’s discussions focused on how we could work with the four in-house teaching vets and 15 interns in the future to increase the learning opportunities for students, especially regarding anaesthesia and pain management during the one or two surgeries that take place there daily. 

On Wednesday we held a pain management workshop with 60 vets in Nanjing. The audience was a mix of new graduates and more experienced vets. Most vets used some form of analgesia pre-surgery, however there were inconsistencies in the use of post-surgery and intra-surgery pain management. As we’ve noted from previous workshops, there was no understanding of chronic pain management in animals. 

Pain management education by Animals Asia

Our team spent Friday in YangZhou. This beautiful town with its lakes and rural surroundings has been the inspiration for many Chinese poets. Unfortunately the team did not get to see much of the scenery as they spent the day in a vet hospital with a group of 20 vets. However, the smaller group meant that the day could incorporate more interactive learning. The team worked with the vets to devise pain management plans for different practice scenarios. The vets also looked more closely at local anaesthetic techniques and methods of maximizing pain relief with limited analgesic options. 

Ryan Marcel Sucaet, our Bear & Vet Team Director at the Chengdu Bear Rescue Centre said:

“This week of training helped us reach 250 Chinese veterinary professionals and deliver tailored instruction to improve animal welfare. Pain management techniques are under-developed and inappropriately practiced in China and a big part of our work is giving local veterinary teams the knowledge and skills they need to use these methods effectively. These are very practical sessions that meet vets where they are, both geographically and in terms of their knowledge of specific animal welfare concepts.”

These training sessions are always informative experiences, both for the vets being trained and our team, as every session presents new challenges that inform our future training plans. There are thousands of animals who will benefit from this education, preventing them from incurring needless suffering...and we’re only too happy to help. 

Vet tour attributed