Physiology of Pain and Stress


Date: TBC 2022


This unit will enable the student to consider the biological basis of pathological change and animal behaviour, with particular reference to pain and stress. Students will be able to illustrate how the contribution of these topics can improve animal welfare and husbandry, as well as using them to broaden their application of good laboratory practice and management.


You will cover....


  • Definitions of stress, distress and nociception

  • Biological basis of stress responses

  • Sources of stress and distress and their impact on animal welfare

  • Perception of and response to external stimuli in the vertebrate, with particular emphasis on nociceptors and nociceptive pathways.

  • Methods of measuring stress responses: hormones and neuro-chemicals, physiological responses, measurement of neurological activity, cardiovascular and pulmonary system.

  • Effect of stress on the immune system

  • Significance of measurements: When does stress become distress?

  • Concepts and definitions of welfare

  • Indicators and measurements of pain and distress

  • Methods of relieving pain and distress

Key skills you will develop...


  • research and communication skills

  • Individual initiative

  • Reflection on and application of experimental refinement techniques

  • Time management