WSAVA Launches Certificate in Pain Management to Improve Companion Animal Health and Welfare

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) is to launch a Certificate in Pain Management, supported by Zoetis, to promote the importance of companion animal pain management as a discipline and offer veterinarians and veterinary nurses/technicians a recognized international qualification in the subject for the first time.

The WSAVA Certificate in Pain Management is based on the updated Global Guidelines for the Recognition, Assessment and Treatment of Pain, unveiled by the WSAVA Global Pain Council (GPC) at the end of 2022. Despite rapid advances in pain management, the GPC is concerned that pain in companion animals is under-diagnosed and under-treated.

In offering this new Certificate in conjunction with its Global Pain Management Guidelines, the GPC aims to raise awareness of the importance of pain management for patient health and welfare and provide practical help to veterinary professionals who wish to refresh or deepen their knowledge in this area.

Globally relevant and available online for ease of access, the WSAVA Certificate course comprises three modules, with tailored content for veterinarians and veterinary nurses/technicians, covering:

  • Understanding and assessing pain
  • Preventing and treating pain
  • Pain management in practice

Each module contains recorded lectures from members of the GPC and other global experts, together with links to mandatory and suggested reading materials. Quizzes are included at the end of each lecture. The course is available free of charge to all companion animal veterinarians and veterinary nurses/technicians.

The International Veterinary Academy for Pain Management (IVAPM) is supporting the dissemination of the Certificate.

Chair of the WSAVA Global Pain Council Dr Bea Monteiro said: “The new WSAVA Certificate in Pain Management will help veterinary professionals to understand the critical importance of pain management for companion animal health and welfare. It will show them how to assess pain using the latest knowledge of pain-related behaviors and validated pain scales. Finally, it will guide them in treating pain effectively, using the most appropriate drug and non-drug therapies, based on the availability of particular analgesics and other therapies in the region of the world in which they are in practice.”

She added: “The Certificate provides recognition to professionals advancing their knowledge on pain management. It is the next step in the Global Pain Council’s campaign to raise awareness of the importance of pain management and to support veterinary teams in diagnosing and treating it effectively – a development which will benefit companion animals around the world and the humans who gain so much from their companionship. We are grateful to Zoetis and the IVAPM for their support and hope that WSAVA members will enjoy the course we have created.”

Dr Mike McFarland, Chief Medical Officer at Zoetis, said: “My personal experience has shown me that pain can affect many areas of a pet’s life, including their sleep and cognitive function. It can also affect their emotional state and social relationships. This new WSAVA Certificate in Pain Management represents a significant step forward for veterinary professionals in building awareness of the way in which new solutions to managing pain can improve the quality of life for pets and their owners and protect the precious bond between them.”

The WSAVA Certificate in Pain Management is available in English and is being submitted for RACE accreditation. Interest in the Certificate can be registered here:

The WSAVA’s Global Guidelines for the Recognition, Assessment and Treatment of Pain are available for free download from the WSAVA website in a range of languages. The work of the Global Pain Council is generously supported by Zoetis.

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