Animal modelling of arthritis is often associated with pain and suffering. Severity may be reduced with the use of analgesia which is, however, often withheld due to concerns of introducing a confounding variable. It is therefore important to design and validate pain relief protocols that reduce pain without compromising the scientific objectives. The present study evaluated the effect of buprenorphine analgesia in the immediate post-induction period of an adjuvant-induced monoarthritic rat model. The aim of this study was to extend previous work on refinement of the model by alleviating unnecessary pain.