A cross-sectional survey of UK veterinary practices to determine prevalence of feline and canine patient stress-reducing and welfare-enhancing approaches believed to be undertaken

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Low stress handling approaches for veterinary care have been recommended to improve patient health and wellbeing and improve staff safety. The aim of this study was to guage implementation of low-stress handling protocols in UK veterinary practices. The protocols tested were collated from key organisations promoting welfare-friendly veterinary practice.
A cross-sectional, observational, descriptive online survey was distributed by email to all veterinary practices who met the inclusion criteria. Using 4-point Likert-type questions, veterinary professionals were asked to identify how often they believed their practice complied with 74 recommendations across seven themes, representing each area of the veterinary practice experience.
Respondent demographic information was also collected to compare both awareness and implementation of low stress handling protocols. Of 1012 contactable veterinary practices, 91 responded.
Practices showed good adherence with recommendations in the themes of waiting room and veterinary practice consultations; inpatient experiences and practice ethos. Poorer adherence was shown in the themes of waiting and consultation rooms; wards; care and record keeping protocols and client education measures undertaken. Lack of provision of client literature was a noticeable reported weakness across a range of indices and topics. Practice membership of the International Society for Feline Medicine ‘Cat friendly’ scheme had small but significant positive effects across several themes.
This study provides an interesting starting point in assessing the impact of low stress handling protocols in the UK and further studies are planned which will build on the key themes identified in improving the welfare of both veterinary patients and their veterinary caregivers.
Key words
Canine welfare; feline welfare; low-stress handling; veterinary; fear-free; welfare protocols
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2020

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