Volume 68 (2018) Issue: 2018 No#1

A pilot study on skin potential recordings as a measure of nociception in pain-free dogs and humans, and in dogs with persistent pain

Author(s): Giordano Paola, Bennett C Rachel, Driessen Bernd

Keywords:Afferent pathway, autonomic nervous system, canine diseases, pain, electrodiagnosis

The Pain Trace™ device can detect changes in the skin’s electrical potentials claimed to be associated with pain related alterations in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system activity. Positive voltages represent the absence of major pain, whereas negative voltages represent moderate to severe pain. Unlike in humans and horses, no baseline skin potential recordings have been reported in dogs. In study Part 1 baseline skin potentials were recorded in healthy dogs and compared to readings obtained in human volunteers. In dogs, data were recorded with electrodes placed at three separate sites: neck, axilla, and thorax. In humans, data were collected from the palms. Readings over a 90-second period were averaged and comparisons between groups were performed using the Kruskal-Wallis test. All voltage recordings were positive. Readings in dogs had greater variability. Recordings from the thorax were more homogeneous, this being the reason why this site was chosen for study Part 2. No significant differences in recordings were noted between pain-free dogs and humans. The main hypothesis was that shifting from positive to negative skin potential voltages serves as an indicator of canine patients sensing moderate to severe pain. Therefore, we obtained preoperative readings from dogs with cranial cruciate ligament disease that were experiencing associated persistent pain, and compared these data with readings from pain-free dogs (thorax). In dogs undergoing surgery, all pre-surgery voltage readings were positive and thus no consistent relationship between skin potential recordings and pain perception could be established. Further investigation is needed to confirm any relationship between skin potential and pain severity in dogs.

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ISSN: 0567-8315

eISSN: 1820-7448

Journal Impact Factor 2018: 0.656

5-Year Impact Factor: 0.532

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