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When the cat's meow means ow!

Cats are famous for their stoic nature. Since their days as wild animals, they've hidden pain well.

As a result, veterinarians often fail to provide them with adequate pain kil- lers, although studies of humans suggest that controlling pain may help speed healing.

Julie D. Smith of Kansas State University in Manhattan and her colleagues studied possible indicators of pain in cats that they had spayed and then treated with varying amounts of analgesics, they report in the November American Journal of Veterinary Research.

Cats that received no postoperative analgesics had higher concentrations of cortisol, a stress-related hormone, in their blood than did animals that received butorphanol for pain. Cats with elevated cortisol also had higher blood pressure readings. Veterinarians should consider pain a cause of high blood pressure, Smith recommends.

Contrary to many veterinarians' thinking, elevated heart and respiratory rates and high glucose concentrations were poor indicators of pain.
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Title Annotation:Animal Science; pain may cause blood pressure to rise in cats
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Dec 7, 1996
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