Perceptions and opinions of pet owners in the United Sates about surgery, pain management, and anesthesia in dogs and cats. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To evaluate pet owners' perceptions and understanding of surgical pain, perioperative pain management, and anesthesia. STUDY DESIGN: Prospective owner survey. SAMPLE POPULATION: Eight veterinary hospitals each provided 200 surveys for distribution to pet owners. METHODS: A survey evaluated owners' perceptions and opinions related to surgical pain, perioperative pain management, anesthesia in dogs and cats, and owner demographics (sex, age, education, employment, previous surgical experience, and pet ownership) in 8 regions of the United States (Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, Ohio, Texas, Washington, DC). Effects of demographics on survey questions were analyzed by using a Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test. Descriptive statistics and frequency distributions were calculated when applicable. RESULTS: 948/1600 (59.25%) of distributed questionnaires were completed. Owners reported that analgesics were "always needed" more often for surgical procedures than medical conditions. Knowing what to expect during recovery (99%), being informed of procedures and risks (98%), adequate pain management (98%), and having a board-certified anesthesiologist perform anesthesia (94%) were considered "important" or "very important" by owners. The majority of owners agreed that pain affects quality of life (81%), interactions with family and pets (73%), and that declawing is a painful procedure (59%). Older respondents (>46 years), women, owners who have had previous surgery or who have pets that have had previous surgery, and those in health care professions have a better understanding of pain but also expect effective client communication. CONCLUSION: Improving our understanding of pet owners' perceptions and knowledge related to anesthesia, surgery, and pain may lead to improved client education, satisfaction, and compliance with administration of analgesics.

published proceedings

  • Vet Surg

altmetric score

  • 4.9

author list (cited authors)

  • Simon, B. T., Scallan, E. M., Von Pfeil, D., Boruta, D. T., Wall, R., Nibblett, B. M., ... Steagall, P. V

citation count

  • 9

complete list of authors

  • Simon, Bradley T||Scallan, Elizabeth M||Von Pfeil, Dirsko JF||Boruta, Daniel T||Wall, Rick||Nibblett, Belle M||Odette, O||Beauchamp, Guy||Steagall, Paulo V

publication date

  • February 2018