Felis ISSN 2398-2950

Handling cats: for blood sampling

Contributor(s): Vetstream Ltd

General approach

  • The importance of a calm and quiet manner cannot be over-emphasized when dealing with cats in veterinary practice.
  • Cats entering the clinic are outside of their normal environment, their comfort zone and can be frightened and unpredictable.
  • It is useful to provide owners with information on how best to transport their cat into the clinic. This will help ensure that it is a calm cat that arrives at the practice.
  • It is important to to keep noise to a minimum to avoid distress.
    Quiet clippers are essential and it is often useful to switch clippers on for a short period prior to their use to acclimatise cats to the noise.
  • Gentle, confident handling techniques will make the experience better for the cat and will make it easier for support staff and veterinarians to perform physical examinations and obtain necessary samples.
    A cat should never be scruffed (restraining the cat by twisting the skin at the base of the neck). Scruffing will typically just result in heightened aggravation in the cat, making handling even more difficult.
  • By using the various techniques described below, scruffing will never be necessary.
  • Wrapping a cat in a towel can be useful to prevent scratching from the hindlimbs and forelimbs. The towel can be gently held at the neck and can also be draped over the cats eyes which will aid in calming a small number of cats (this is very cat-dependent!).
  • Although cat restraint bags can be useful in individual cats, placing the animal within the bag can prove problematic and result in heightened distress for some cats. The same effect can often be achieved simply by using a towel.
  • Cat muzzles may also be useful both in helping to prevent biting injury  and can also calm a small number of cats, however placement may also prove problematic and these should be used on a case by case basis.

Blood sampling restraint technique

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Upside down blood sampling restraint technique

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Intravenous catheter placement restraint technique

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Risks

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Rodan I, Sundahl E, Carney H et al (2011) AAFP and ISFM feline-friendly handling guidelines. J Feline Med Surg 13 (5), 364-375 PubMed.

Other sources of information


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