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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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Reporting service for dead wild birds updated

News Story 1
 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its online reporting service for dead wild birds.

The new version allows those reporting a dead bird to drop a pin on a map when reporting the location. It also includes a wider range of wild bird species groups to select from when describing the bird.

The online service, which helps APHA to monitor the spread of diseases such as avian influenza, can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
NI chief vet urges bluetongue vigilance

Northern Ireland's chief veterinary officer (CVO) has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of bluetongue, after the Animal and Plant Health Agency warned there was a very high probability of further cases in Great Britain.

There have been 126 confirmed cases of bluetongue virus serotype 3 in England since November 2023, with no cases reported in Northern Ireland. The movement of live ruminants from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is currently suspended.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the virus is most likely to enter Northern Ireland through infected animals or germplasm (semen or ova) being imported.

Brian Dooher, Northern Ireland's CVO, said: "Surveillance for this disease within Northern Ireland has been increased to assist with detection at the earliest opportunity which will facilitate more effective control measures."

Farmers should report any suspicions of the disease to their private veterinary practitioner, the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or their local DAERA Direct Veterinary Office.