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How do we know if a feline patient is in pain? A new study has documented the signs.

Tampa Bay Animal Hospitals | Tampa, FL

Academics and clinical practitioners from across the globe with specializations in internal medicine, anesthesiology, oncology, dentistry, behavior, dermatology, ophthalmology, and neurology have identified 25 behavioral signs that cats display which could indicate that they are suffering pain.

The research was published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE on Feb. 24.

The aim of the study was to collect and classify expert opinion on the possible behavioral signs in cats that denoted pain. These signs were classified as either “sufficient” (their presence indicated that the cat is pain) or “necessary” (the signs must be present to conclude that the cat is in pain) for pain assessment in cats.

By repeating a process of behavior analysis and selection, the researchers’ work revealed 25 key “sufficient” signs, such as an absence of grooming, hunched-up posture, avoiding bright areas, change in feeding behavior, and difficulty to jump, which all infer pain, but no “necessary” signs.

“Both owners and veterinarians are clearly able to recognize many behavioral changes in cats which relate to pain,” said Daniel S. Mills, PhD, Professor of Veterinary Behavioral Medicine at the University of Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences in the United Kingdom and one of the study authors. “However, owners may not always recognize the clinical relevance of what they see.

“For example, they may view the changes as an inevitable part of natural aging and not report them…or at least not until the behaviors become quite severe. We hope that having an agreed list of more objective criteria, which relates to specific signs of pain, could improve the ability of both owners and veterinarians to recognize it.”

If you think your cat may be showing signs of pain, please do not hesitate to contact us for a check up.

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COVID-19 Service Announcement

May 12, 2020

Tampa Bay Animal Hospitals adjust to providing care during Phase 1 re-opening of Florida during human coronavirus COVID-19 with continued Curbside Service, Telehealth, Mobile Services, Elective Procedures and More.

The health and safety of our clients and staff is of utmost importance as we continue to provide the best care possible to pets.

We remain committed to caring for our patients and meeting their health care needs in the safest and best way possible. Be assured that we continue to follow CDC guidelines and federal, state and local recommendations for practicing social distancing. We have established a phased plan to resume normal services to see our patients for healthy pet exams, all procedures and surgeries and urgent care needs.

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