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Effects of stress of surgery visits on physiological parameters in cats

J. M. Quimby, M. L. Smith, K. F. Lunn

MEASUREMENTS of physiological parameters are important in the clinical assessment of an animal; however, they can potentially be affected by stress. This study compared physiological measurements taken from cats in the home and the veterinary clinic environment.

Thirty healthy cats were studied. Systolic blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate and rectal temperature were measured in each cat, in that order, in their home environment. The owners then drove the cat to a veterinary clinic and, after a 10-minute acclimatisation period, the same variables were measured by the same clinician. The cat's attitude during manipulation was scored from 0 to 3, by scoring the following: calm (0) or agitated (1); compliant (0) or struggling (1); and quiet (0) or vocalising (1).

The median age of the cats was four years (range 0.6 to 11 years). Five cats were reported to have an indoor/outdoor lifestyle, while 25 lived only indoors. The median transportation time to the clinic was 12 minutes (range five to 40 minutes). The mean difference in blood pressure between the home and clinical setting was +6 …

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