Behavioural assessment of pain in cats

Isabella Merola and Daniel Mills, University of Lincoln

Cats are better able than many other species to hide outward signs of pain, a feature that is probably linked to their normally solitary habits and their potential role as a prey species. As a result, there is no consensus on how to measure their response to different types and severities of painful stimuli. The authors carried out a systematic review of research into the behavioural expression of pain in this species. Their analysis included around 100 different studies published in English language journals since 2000, mostly relating to the assessment of pain resulting from surgical procedures. They identified 10 broad categories of tools used in pain assessments but found little evidence that these were valid, reliable and sensitive for use in different situations to assess pain severity and the consequent need for analgesic treatment, The study highlights a number of gaps in current understanding, such as the lack of a consistent definition for acute and chronic pain and the need to evaluate the emotional, as well as the sensory aspects of pain.

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery 18 (2), 60-76

Hand hygiene routines in clinical staff of companion animal practices

Maureen Anderson and Scott Weese, University of Guelph, Ontario

A common route by which infections are transferred between patients in veterinary practices is via the pathogens carried on the hands of clinical staff. The authors investigated perceptions of the importance of regular hand hygiene procedures among 356 staff at 49 small animal clinics. In 82 per cent of respondents, hand hygiene was considered important in all clinical situations and 32 per cent could recall discussions at work on this specific issue. ‘Forgetting to do so' was the main reason given for occasional lapses in standards, although time restraints and skin irritation were also suggested as potential excuses in some situations.

Canadian Veterinary Journal 57(3), 282-288

Effect of a trap-neuter-return programme on the health of feral cats

Charlotte Edinboro and others, Exponent Inc., Menlo Park, California

Trapping and neutering feral cats before releasing them back into their home environment is considered a practical way to curb numbers and improve their overall welfare. The authors carried out a retrospective study into the effects of such a policy on the health of a feral cat population. They examined the records kept by a large municipal shelter in northern California from 2006 to 2013. The numbers of cats admitted to the shelter decreased significantly over this period and there was a reduction in the proportion euthanased for health reasons, The policy also increased the resources available for treating those cats that developed respiratory infections while housed at the shelter.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 248(3), 298-308

Sustained release buprenorphine for postoperative analgesia in rabbits

Louis DiVincenti and others, University of Rochester New York

Buprenorphine is a safe and effective agent for use in postoperative analgesia in the rabbit. But for long term pain control, the frequent need to handle the animal for injection is likely to cause stress.

The author examined the response of rabbits undergoing orthopaedic surgery to a compounded, sustained release formulation of buprenorphine. When administered subcutaneously at a dose of 0.12 mg/kg this agent was found to provide analgesia at a similar level to that offered by conventional formulations of the same drug.

Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 248(7), 795-801

Comparison of manual and pharmacological restraint for healthy dogs

Michele Barletta and Marc Raffe, University of Georgia, Athens

Canine patients can either be manually restrained or chemically sedated when there is a need to carry out minimally invasive procedures in veterinary practice. The authors examined the behavioural responses of healthy dogs to manual restraint or sedation with dexmedetomidine, either alone or in combination with butorphanol. Mean behavioural response scores, based on the animal's demeanour and willingness to cooperate with its human handler were improved with higher doses of dexmedetomidine and when the agent was given in combination. The cost of administering the drug was offset by the ‘opportunity cost' involved in diverting staff from potentially revenue-generating activities in order to manually restrain the dog.

Canadian Veterinary Journal 57(3), 258-264

Hypothermia in response to different anaesthetic induction regimens

Jennifer Bornkamp and others University of Florida, Gainesville

Hypothermia is a common complication of general anaesthesia in small animal practice and can lead to further complications such as decreased drug metabolism, cardiac arrhythmias, bleeding and increased risk of wound infections. The authors investigated the incidence and extent of hypothermia in dogs induced with benzodi-azepine plus ketamine or propofol. Dogs receiving both combinations became hypothermic, but this was more severe with the combination containing propofol. So adequate heat support should always be given for dogs given a general anaesthetic, particularly when using the benzodiazepine-propofol combination.

American Journal of Veterinary Research 77(4), 351-357

Veterinary Nursing Journal • VOL 31 • September 2016