It is morally imperative to preserve the welfare of animals when using animal models in research and teaching.

Federal regulations note that anything what will cause pain in a human being has to be assumed to cause pain in any vertebrate animal as well. Prevention or alleviation of pain and distress associated with procedural and surgical protocols is an integral component of veterinary medical care in regards to animal well-being and research outcome.

Pain and distress influences research quality directly by producing stress data instead of physiological data. It is important to be familiar with signs of pain and distress in the particular species, especially since many laboratory animals belong to prey species capable of hiding those signs amazingly well.

The FAU Formulary provides a summary of signs of pain and distress, general signs of morbidity or moribund condition, and humane endpoint criteria. It also contains details of anesthetics and analgesics commonly used in specific species or taxa and supportive nursing care information that can be utilized in addition to or independent of analgesia.