Stress in Hospitalized Veterinary Patients
A new study looks at the psychogenic stress in veterinary patients. Data was collected from scientific literature from 2008 to 2018. In humans, psychogenic stress has been linked to immune suppression; gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and cutaneous diseases; delayed wound healing; alterations in pain perception; and neurologic impairment. Sources of psychogenic stress include environmental alterations such as excessive noise and light, social and physical factors, sleep disruption, drugs, and underlying disease. Nonpharmacologic options for stress reduction include environmental and treatment modifications, music therapy, and early mobilization. Pharmacologic options include sedation with benzodiazepines and dexmedetomidine. Trazodone and melatonin have been examined for use in sleep promotion but are not currently recommended as standard treatments in ICU.
In veterinary patients, activation of the stress response similar. Possible sources of stress can include social, physical, and environmental factors. Stress in animals is determined through a combination of physical examination findings and the results of serum biochemistry, CBC, and biomarker testing. Stress scales can be implemented to identify stressed patients and assess severity. Nonpharmacologic treatment options include low-stress handling, pheromones, environmental modifications, and sleep promotion. Pharmacologic options include trazodone, benzodiazepines, dexmedetomidine, and melatonin.
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