With an increase in the life expectancy of our exotic patients and the increased demand in the quality of patient care, the recognition and treatment of pain in our patients have gained more importance in our daily practice. We are faced now with clients that are emotionally connected and more educated in the diagnosis and treatment of pain, with higher expectations regarding pain management. While much progress has been made and we feel like we can treat pain in these species, exotic animal pain management is still in an early stage of development when compared with what is known in canine, feline, and, of course, human patients.
This issue of the Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice, with 14 articles and 26 authors, who are experts in their field, covers pain recognition and treatment in fish; reptiles; birds; rabbits; guinea pigs and chinchillas; rats, mice, gerbils, hamsters, and prairie dogs; ferrets as well as acupuncture and physical therapy in these species. The information presented here evidences the significant advances that our field has experienced in this area since the last issue of the Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice was published in 2011, with a very large number of behavioral, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, safety, and toxicologic studies as well as evaluation of locoregional techniques and case reports. The dosages presented in the tables of these articles represent in many instances the ones evaluated in the studies referenced and not necessarily recommended dosages or drugs in a given case. When indicated, these drugs and dosages should be applied under close observation for analgesic effectiveness and safety.
I would like to encourage clinicians to consult with board-certified colleagues in anesthesia and pain management when evaluating and treating exotic patients with pain as well as document these cases and promote research in this area. We also can learn a lot from other groups like the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management, where the foundational aspects of pain management can be learned and ultimately improve the care of our patients.
I would like to thank all the authors for their effort and contribution to this issue, and we hope that the reader will find the information presented here educational and clinically applicable. It was our goal to help clinicians keep up with the increasing new information in this area and present it in a friendly manner. Last, I would like to thank Elsevier for the opportunity given to serve as a guest editor of this issue and for their support and guidance. It has been a great pleasure, and I look forward to contributing to the Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice in the future.
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