Video Vet Appointments Less Stressful for Cats

Taking a cat to the vet can be extremely stressful, which means people often delay or avoid making appointments for their kitties. Regular healthcare is important to a cat’s well-being, however, so what’s the solution? Recent research from the University of California, Davis, may provide the answer.

A team of researchers measured how cats reacted to in-clinic appointments, versus those conducted by webcam, to evaluate if telemedicine could increase access to care for cat households. The researchers worked with Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento to stage mock in-person appointments. They also set up video meetingswith the same cats, using webcams. The sessions happened two weeks apart with 30 cats and guardians participating.

At each visit, the cats received mock post-surgery checks as though they had been spayed. The researchers documented the cats’ pupil dilation, respiratory rate, lip licking and ear position. For the at-home video sessions, the guardians lifted their cats for visual inspection and counted their breaths. All appointments were recorded and photos of the cats’ eyes were taken to measure pupils.

The study found that the cats showed increased respiratory rates, larger pupil dilation, and more negative ear positions during the in-person examinations as opposed to the home assessments, indicating increased stress and arousal.

“These results support the idea that video appointments could help reduce stress surrounding veterinary appointments in cats,” says Grace Boone, an assistant specialist in animal welfare epidemiology for the Department of Animal Science.

In-home assessments could also better reflect health and behavior issues because cats tend to conceal vulnerabilities when in unfamiliar environments. For example, a cat could limp at home, but hide signs of pain at the veterinary clinic. “They might come into the clinic and look just fine,” Boone says. “It may be better to see them at home.”

“Cats tend to not see the vet as much compared to dogs,” she adds. “Telemedicine can fill a gap in care.”

The post Video Vet Appointments Less Stressful for Cats appeared first on Animal Wellness Magazine.

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