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Cross-sectional survey of cat handling practices in veterinary clinics throughout Canada and the United States

Carly M. Moody1Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

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Cate E. Dewey1Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

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Lee Niel1Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess handling techniques commonly used during routine examinations and procedures used for calm, fearful, and aggressive cats by veterinarians and nonveterinarian staff at Canadian and US veterinary practices and to evaluate demographic factors associated with those handling techniques.

SAMPLE

310 veterinarians and 944 nonveterinarians who handle cats at Canadian and US veterinary practices.

PROCEDURES

An online questionnaire was developed to evaluate respondent demographics and use of common cat handling practices and techniques. A snowball sampling method was used to send a link to the questionnaire to members of Canadian and US veterinary-affiliated groups. Descriptive statistics were generated; logistic regression was used to identify demographic factors associated with the use of minimal and full-body restraint with scruffing during routine examination and procedures for fearful and aggressive cats.

RESULTS

Full-body restraint was used to handle cats of all demeanors, although its frequency of use was greatest for fearful and aggressive cats. Veterinarians and nonveterinarians who graduated from veterinary training programs before 2006 were less likely to use full-body restraint for cats of all demeanors, compared with nonveterinarians who did not graduate or graduated between 2006 and 2015. Other factors associated with decreased use of full-body restraint included working at an American Association of Feline Practitioners-certified practice and working at a Canadian practice.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested that full-body restraint is commonly used to handle cats. Further research is necessary to determine whether current handling recommendations are effective in decreasing stress for cats during veterinary visits.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess handling techniques commonly used during routine examinations and procedures used for calm, fearful, and aggressive cats by veterinarians and nonveterinarian staff at Canadian and US veterinary practices and to evaluate demographic factors associated with those handling techniques.

SAMPLE

310 veterinarians and 944 nonveterinarians who handle cats at Canadian and US veterinary practices.

PROCEDURES

An online questionnaire was developed to evaluate respondent demographics and use of common cat handling practices and techniques. A snowball sampling method was used to send a link to the questionnaire to members of Canadian and US veterinary-affiliated groups. Descriptive statistics were generated; logistic regression was used to identify demographic factors associated with the use of minimal and full-body restraint with scruffing during routine examination and procedures for fearful and aggressive cats.

RESULTS

Full-body restraint was used to handle cats of all demeanors, although its frequency of use was greatest for fearful and aggressive cats. Veterinarians and nonveterinarians who graduated from veterinary training programs before 2006 were less likely to use full-body restraint for cats of all demeanors, compared with nonveterinarians who did not graduate or graduated between 2006 and 2015. Other factors associated with decreased use of full-body restraint included working at an American Association of Feline Practitioners-certified practice and working at a Canadian practice.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested that full-body restraint is commonly used to handle cats. Further research is necessary to determine whether current handling recommendations are effective in decreasing stress for cats during veterinary visits.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Appendix s1 (PDF 98 kb)

Contributor Notes

Dr. Moody's present address is Global Animal Welfare and Training, Charles River Laboratories, Senneville, QC H9X 3R3, Canada.

Dr. Dewey's present address is the Office of Academic Affairs, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.

Address correspondence to Dr. Niel (niell@uoguelph.ca).