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Veterinary provision of analgesia for domestic cats (Felis catus) undergoing gonadectomy: a comparison of samples from New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom

Authors: Stafford KJ, Keown AJ, Adams NJ, Waran NK, Farnworth MJ
Publication: New Zealand Veterinary Journal, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 117-122, May 2014
Publisher: Taylor and Francis


AIM: To compare the use and provision of analgesia to cats undergoing gonadectomy by a sample of veterinarians in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom (UK).

METHODS: Small animal veterinarians' views and practices on provision of analgesia to cats at three different time phases (pre/intra-operatively, post-operatively and post-discharge) were gathered using an on-line questionnaire. Respondents were also asked to state the pharmacological agent(s) used and the dosage rate(s). Differences in provision of analgesia were assessed relative to the respondent using binary logistic regression. The effects of gender of the patient and time of provision were explored using McNewar's Test and Cochran's Q, respectively. Differences between drug types used amongst countries were tested using X2 analysis.

RESULTS: There were 717 responses to the survey. Of these 249 (34.7%) were from New Zealand, 269 (37.5%) were from the UK and 199 (27.8%) from Australia. The prevalence of analgesia provision declined across the three different time phases for spaying and castration (both p<0.001). Provision of analgesia for castration was less than for spaying at each of the pre/intra-operative (p=0.002), post-operative (p<0.001) and after discharge (p<0.001) phases.

Post-operative provision of analgesia following both castration (p<0.001) and spaying (p<0.001) differed amongst countries of practice. Veterinarians in Australia and New Zealand were more likely to provide post-operative analgesia for both castration and spaying than those from the UK (p<0.001). Veterinarians from the UK more commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) in the pre/intra-operative phase (p<0.001) than veterinarians from either New Zealand or Australia.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Contemporary use of analgesics for cats appears focused on provision at clinic and may not address the effects of surgery beyond the first 24 hours. The UK, Australia and New Zealand clearly differ in the types of analgesia administered, possibly reflecting differing professional considerations of the risks associated with the use of NSAID. In the interests of animal welfare, pain relief should perhaps be provided or offered more frequently for owner administration.

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