JAVMA study on hospital visit stress on canines released
The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) recently released a study that evaluated differences in vital signs in dogs between the home and veterinary hospital environments. Significant differences were observed between the two environments.
Thirty client-owned healthy dogs were used for the study and had their respiratory rate, pulse rate, rectal temperature, and systolic arterial blood pressure measured in their home environment. Dogs were then transported to the veterinary hospital, and measurements were repeated. Significant differences in blood pressure, rectal temperature, and pulse rate were observed between measurements obtained in the two environments.
Mean blood pressure increased by 16% (95% confidence interval [CI], 8.8% to 24%), rectal temperature increased by < 1% (95% CI, 0.1% to 0.6%), and pulse rate increased by 11% (95% CI, 5.3% to 17.6%). The number of dogs panting in the hospital environment (19/30 [63%]) was significantly higher than the number of dogs panting in the home environment (5/30 [17%]).
The results of the study suggest that practitioners consider stress from transportation and environmental change when canine patients have abnormalities of vital signs on initial examination. The variables in question should be rechecked before a definitive diagnosis of medical illness is reached or extensive further workup is pursued.