Attitudes and concerns of Canadian animal health ...

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Title Attitudes and concerns of Canadian animal health technologists toward postoperative pain management in dogs and cats
Author(s) Susan E. Dohoo, Ian R. Dohoo
Journal The Canadian Veterinary Journal. La Revue Veterinaire Canadienne
Date 1998
Volume 39
Issue 8
Start page 491
End page 496
Abstract Three hundred and twenty-two Canadian animal health technologists (AHTs) were surveyed to determine their attitudes toward postoperative pain management in dogs and cats following 6 surgical procedures, their concerns regarding the use of opioid analgesics, and their role within veterinary practices with respect to postoperative pain control. Two hundred and sixty-four (82%) returned the questionnaire. Pain perception was defined as the average of pain rankings for dogs and cats (on a scale of 1 to 10) following abdominal surgery, or the value for dogs or cats if the AHT worked with only 1 of the 2 species. Maximum concern about the risks associated with the postoperative use of morphine or oxymorphone was defined as the highest rating assigned to any of the 6 risks evaluated in either dogs or cats. Animal health technologists reported significantly higher pain perception scores than did veterinarians who completed a similar survey 2 years previously. Higher pain perception scores were associated with decreased satisfaction with the adequacy of analgesic therapy in their practice, higher pain control goals, and attendance at continuing education within the previous 12 months. The majority of AHTs (55%) agreed that one or more risks associated with the use of morphine or oxymorphone outweighed the benefits. The 3 issues that were perceived to pose the greatest risk were respiratory depression, bradycardia, and sedation and excitement, for dogs and cats, respectively. Most AHTs (68%) considered their knowledge related to the recognition and control of pain to be adequate, compared with 24% of veterinarians who responded to a similar previous survey. As for veterinarians, experience gained while in practice was ranked as the most important source of knowledge, while the technical program attended was ranked as least important. Over 88% of the AHTs provided nursing care during the postoperative period, monitored animals for side effects of postoperative analgesic therapy, informed veterinarians when animals were in pain, recommended analgesic therapy when they believed it was warranted, reported that animals received analgesics when they believed it was warranted, administered analgesics under the instruction of a veterinarian, and believed they were part of a team working to provide adequate postoperative pain control.

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