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  • Author or Editor: Suvi K. Tuomikoski x
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Objective—To identify behavioral alterations in client-owned cats recovering at home following elective ovariohysterectomy or castration and determine owner perceptions regarding severity of postoperative pain.

Design—Cohort study.

Animals—145 cats undergoing elective ovariohysterectomy (n = 80) or castration (65) at 4 veterinary clinics in Finland.

Procedures—Owners were asked to complete a questionnaire on their cats' behavior during the 3 days after surgery. Owners were also asked to indicate their perceptions of the severity of postoperative pain during these days by use of a 100-mm visual analog scale.

Results—Owners consistently indicated that there were changes in their cats' behavior, with the most commonly reported alterations being a decrease in overall activity level, an increase in the amount of time spent sleeping, a decrease in playfulness, and altered way of movement. Changes (ie, either an increase or decrease) in aggressive behavior were rare. Median pain score the day of surgery was 15.0 mm for male cats and 25.0 mm for female cats. Behavior score was significantly associated with day of observation, type of surgery (ovariohysterectomy vs castration), owner-assigned pain score, and veterinary clinic.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested that behavioral alterations can be detected for several days after surgery in cats recovering at home following ovariohysterectomy or castration and emphasized owner concerns about the existence of postoperative pain.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association