The aim of the present study was to identify postoperative behaviour associated with pain in female cats after ovariohysterectomy. For this purpose behaviour of female cats treated with analgesics was compared with that of a control group. Thirty three female cats undergoing castration at the Clinic of Gynecology and Andrology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Wien, were observed for 24 hours ( 8:00 AM 8:00 PM ). The time of observation was divided into three phases: preoperative, postoperative / pre-treatment, and postoperative / post-treatment. Ten hours after the administration of the pre-medication ( ketamine®- racemase (n = 17) / ketamine S(+) (n = 16 in combination with midazolam i.v.) the patients received randomised and double blinded either butorphanol (0,4mg/kg; n = 16) or the equivalent amount of 0,9 % NaCl (n = 17) i.m. Nine hours after the praemedication and at 7:00 A.M the following day the animals were offered food and water. The behaviour was compared both between the trial- and the placebo group as well as between the different phases of observation. Because the cat population consisted of cats living in a house hold indoor cats (n = 14) and those living on a farm outdoor cats (n = 19), data were also analyzed for this factors. The behaviour was analyzed for activity, comfort, and wound contact.
Cats receiving analgesics postoperatively, showed significantly more wound contact (p = 0,032) when compared with the placebo group. These cats were also significantly more active (p = 0,000)than the animals of the control group.
Comparing the postoperative time phases before and after the medication, the patients of the trial group showed significantly more comfort behaviour (p = 0,006) and wound contact(p = 0,000)than prior to medication.