Prof. Dr. Claudia Spadavecchia

Foto Claudia Spadavecchia

Section for Veterinary Anaesthesiology and Pain Therapy,
Vetsuisse Faculty,
University of Bern

Section for Veterinary Anaesthesiology and Pain Therapy


The main research focus of our group is pain in animals, which is not only a major issue in clinical veterinary practice but also an important ethical concern for the whole society. We aim at developing objective, valid and reliable tools to evaluate nociceptive physio-pathological processes and pain behaviour and at refining procedures and techniques to improve peri-operative pain treatment in domestic and laboratory animals.

Major areas of interest are:

  • Pain diagnosis: we characterised the non-invasive neurophysiological model of the Nociceptive Withdrawal Reflex to explore and quantify spinal nociceptive processing in awake or anaesthetised animals by using different noxious stimulations paradigms in several species. For this focus fruitful international collaborations with human pain research experts have been established. Other Quantitative Sensory Testing methods are being explored and validated in several species.
  • Systemic peri-opearative pain treatment: we provided species-specific neurophysiological and clinical evidence for dose-related antinociceptive and antihyperalgesic effects of several conventional systemic drugs, promoting the understanding of their mechanisms of analgesic action and their use in clinical and experimental settings.
  • Local analgesia: we optimize methods to provide local analgesia to improve peri-operative pain treatment in several species. Among others, the analgesic efficacy of intraarticular, perineural or epidural local anaesthetics and opioids have been tested in orthopaedic surgery models, both in domestic and laboratory animal species.

Future research will focus on:

  1. Characterizing the presence and entity of pain following invasive husbandry procedures or spontaneous diseases in the context of animal welfare.
  2. Establishing new non-invasive models to study behavioural and neurophysiological mechanisms of deep tonic pain in animals.
  3. Assessing the clinical efficacy and neurophysiological modulation of new antinociceptive treatment strategies like newly developed drugs and implants.
  4. Further improving short- and long-term local analgesia techniques using ultrasound and neurostimulation guidance for perineural injections.