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Animal pain (2018)

Name of course:

Animal pain


ECTS credits:



Course parameters:

Language: English

Level of course: PhD course

Time of year: 5-9 March 2018

No. of contact hours/hours in total incl. preparation, assignment(s) or the like: 60/150

Capacity limits: 30


Objectives of the course:

The aim is to give PhD-students an overview of the concept of animal pain from a biological perspective


Learning outcomes and competences:

At the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Be updated within state-of-the-art of central parts of animal pain biology
  • Have theoretical knowledge about the evolution of animal pain, and be able to use this as basis of their own research
  • Be able to recognize behavioral and other responses to different types of animal pain (temporally as well as anatomically separated)
  • Be educated within the establishment of experimental protocols for the evaluation of pain in animals


Compulsory programme:

Active participation in residential course Monday-Friday incl. presentation of own project. The final part of the course constitutes written answers to questions from class-mates.


Course contents:

The course is based on presentations and lectures by internationally recognized pain researchers and practitioners combined with participants presenting relevant parts of their PhD-projects. Furthermore, the course involves a combination of group work (discussions of classic aspects of pain biology and its interpretation) and plenary discussions.


The course covers the following topics:

  • Pain definition and terminology
  • Introduction to pain physiology
  • Behavioral pain assessment
  • Consequences of pain in terms of animal welfare
  • Neurobiological basis of pain and nociception
  • Comparative aspects of pain
  • Introduction to pain relief
  • Pain psychology



This course targets PhD students and researchers within science, veterinary, agricultural and health sciences working with animals, including animal model studies, experimentation, in zoo and animal parks, and with scientific questions related to pain biology.


Name of lecturers:

The course organizers are:

  • Mette S. Herskin, Senior scientist, PhD, Department of Animal Science, AU-FOULUM, Aarhus University, e-mail: MetteS.Herskin@anis.au.dk
  • Björn Forkman, Professor, Department of Large Animal Science, University of Copenhagen, e-mail: bjf@sund.ku.dk


The three invited speakers are:

  • Professor Craig B Johnson, Massey University, New Zealand: What is pain and who feels it – from fetus to the end of life?
  • Professor Robert Elwood, Queen’s University Belfast, United Kingdom: Comparative aspects of animal pain – how can we detect it?
  • Associate Professor Klas Abelson, University of Copenhagen, Denmark: The use of animal models to develop pain relieving drugs.


Type of course/teaching methods:

Participants are expected to deliver 150 working hours divided between:

  • Course: 60h during 5-9 March 2018, including lectures, participant presentations and group work. At least one excursion will be included.
  • Written answers to questions from class-mates to be handed in upon finalization of the course and assessed
  • Read the curriculum



Original literature in the form of reviews and papers from international journals, and textbooks on animal pain responses. A list of relevant material will be provided 15 January 2018.


Course homepage:



Course assessment:

Participation in residential course plus evaluation of written answers



The course is provided by the Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University and Department Large Animal Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


Special comments on this course:

Course participants have to pay direct costs for accommodation etc. Participation during the 5day course costs 990 EURO incl. food and accommodation. It is possible to participate in single days at a price of 300 EURO (incl. meals, excl. accommodation).



5-9 March 2018



Hotel Frederiksdal, Lyngby, Denmark



Opens 1 October 2017, via email to Tina.Albertsen@anis.au.dk. Closes 1 December 2017.

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