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Cats relax to classical music
Cat with headphones
Cat from the study under general anaesthesia with headphones.

Study finds certain music beneficial for cats in surgery

Classical music is beneficial for cats in a surgical environment, according to a study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine.

Researchers at the University of Lisbon, Portugal, found that playing Samuel Barber's 'Adagio for Strings' to cats can have a calming effect.

Lead author of the study, Dr Michael Carreira, explains: "In the surgical theatres at the faculty where I teach and at the private veterinary medical centre where I spend my time operating, environmental music is always present, and is an important element in promoting a sense of wellbeing in the team, the animals, and their owners.

"Different music genres affect individuals in different ways. During consultations I have noticed, for example, that most cats like classical music, particularly George Handel compositions, and become more calm, confident and tolerant throughout the clinical evaluation."

After reading about the influence of music on psysiological parameters in humans, Dr Carreira decided to design a study to investigate whether music could have any physiological effects on his surgical patients.

Twelve female pet cats, who were undergoing surgery for neutering, took part in the study. The clinicians recorded their respiratory rate and pupil diameter at various points to determine their depth of anaesthesia.

Fitted with headphones, the cats were exposed to two minutes of silence (as a control), followed by two minutes each of Samuel Barber's 'Adagio for Strings', Natalia Imbruglia's 'Torn,' and AC/DC's 'Thunderstruck.'

The study showed that cats were more relaxed under the influence of classical music (as determined by their lower values for respiratory rate and pupil diameter), with the pop music producing intermediate values. By contrast, the heavy metal music produced the highest values, indicating 'a more stressful situation'.

The results suggest that playing the right music during surgery could allow for lower doses of anaesthetic agents, which would in turn reduce the risk of undesirable side effects.

Dr Carreira  and his colleagues plan to extend their study by exploring what influence music has on other physiological parameters, including cortisol and catecholamines, in dogs as well as cats.

In the future, they wish to incorporate more sophisticated techniques, such as functional MRI and electroencephalography, into their investigations.

Image (C) International Cat Care

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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”