Staring pain in the face: Sheep Pain Facial Expression Scale (SPFES)

Sheep do not overtly express signs of pain as a prey species, making the recognition and thus management of pain, challenging. Researchers have been able to identify changes that occur within the face of sheep when they are suffering from naturally occurring known painful diseases; footrot and mastitis. This led to the development of the Sheep Pain Facial Expression Scale (SPFES). The scale was successfully utilised by trained, treatment blinded observers, to accurately and reliably identify sheep with disease and those without. Sheep that had disease scored higher on the scale compared to control animals, and diseased sheep showed a reduction in the score after effective treatment. Control sheep did not change their facial expression over time. The SPFES offers a reliable and effective method of assessing pain in sheep on farm after minimal training.

Authors of the research: Krista M. McLennan, Carlos J. B. Rebelo, Murray J. Corke, Mark A. Holmes, Matthew C. Leach, Fernando Constantino-Casas

Article link: be-detected- through-sheep- facial-expressions- study-finds.htm