Do Dog Breeds Differ in Pain Sensitivity?

Breed(s): Maltese, American Staffordshire Terrier, Chihuahua, Jack Russell Terrier, Siberian Husky, German Shepherd Dog, Border Collie, Labrador Retriever, Boston Terrier
Sample Type: Blood Sample, Clinical Study
Study Location: North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine (Raleigh, NC, 27606)
CHF-funded Grant: 02797

The purpose of this study is to determine whether breed differences in pain sensitivity exist. This study is important as we may find out that dogs of different breeds have real differences in sensory thresholds, which would lead to the development of new approaches to optimize pain management in a breed-specific manner. However, if no differences exist in pain sensitivity among breeds then techniques will be needed that minimize / eliminate negative effects on patient care that may stem from human beliefs about differences in dog breed pain sensitivity thresholds (Gruen et al., 2020).

Participation Requirements:

We are requesting normal, healthy dogs of the following breeds:

  • Chihuahuas (2 - 10 year olds, Males and Females)
  • Malteses (2 - 9 year olds, Males and Females), Jack Russell Terriers (2 - 9 year olds, Males and Females)
  • Boston Terriers (2 - 8 year olds, Males and Females)
  • Siberian Huskies (2 - 9 year olds, Males only)
  • German Shepherds (2 - 5 years old, Males and Females)
  • American Staffordshire Terriers (2 - 9 year olds, Males only)
  • Border Collies (2 - 9 year olds, Males and Females)
  • Labrador Retrievers (2 - 7 year olds, Males and Females)

For inclusion in this study, dogs must be considered normal, healthy and free from pain and be willing to visit at the NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine for one day. Dogs are excluded if they do not meet this criteria or are found to be painful during their orthopedic examine.

Owner's Responsibilities:

The owner is responsible for filling out questionnaires about their dog, as well as transporting their dog to and from the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine Health & Wellness Clinic (Raleigh, NC, 27606). Upon arrival at the CVM, the dog will have a physical and orthopedic examination performed to ensure the dog is normal, healthy and free from pain. Dogs will participate in a variety of exams and sensory, cognitive and emotional reactivity tests. Blood, urine and fecal samples will be collected from the dog. Throughout the day, treats, praise and play breaks will be used to ensure that the dog associates their visit with positive experiences.

If interested, please fill out the following short questionnaire: 

Learn more by viewing the study flyer.

More Information


Contact Information:

Investigators: Dr. Margaret Gruen (DVM, MVPH, PhD, DACVB, Fear Free Certified), Dr. Duncan Lascelles (BSc, BVSc, PhD, FRCVS, CertVA, DSAS(ST), DECVS, DACVS), Dr. Rachael Cunningham (DVM), Ms. Rachel Park (MSc): North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine

Name: Rachel Park
Phone: 330-931-7526

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