Journal of Small Animal Practice • Vol 59 • April 2018 • © 2018 British Small Animal Veterinary Association
Journal of Small Animal Practice (2018) 59, 243–247
Accepted: 14 December 2017; Published online: 17 January 2018
A retrospective study of feline trauma
patients admitted to a referral centre
* , M . G
*Veterinary Science , University of Cambridge , Cambridge CB2 1TN , UK
Northwest Veterinary Specialists , Northwest Surgeons , Runcorn WA7 3FW , UK
Davies Veterinary Specialists , Hitchin SG5 3HR , UK
Corresponding author email: email@example.com
: To identify prognostic information and provide recommendations for management of feline
: Retrospective analysis of case records for 185 cats presented as emergency trauma cases to a
referral hospital between February 2009 and December 2013. Each case was assigned a severity score
from 1 (very minor injuries) to 6 (moribund, dying). The data were analysed using Mann–Whitney U and
Spearman’s rank correlation tests. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios.
: Out of 185 cats, 22 (11%) did not survive to discharge. Those presenting with a higher severity
score had a higher rate of mortality and a longer period of hospitalisation. Road traffic accidents were
the most common cause of trauma (104/185) and had the highest mortality and complication rates.
Cats with circulatory shock and multiple injuries were identified as having a higher rate of mortality.
: Cats involved in road traffic accidents and that present with signs of shock or multiple
injuries following a traumatic event have an increased mortality rate. Cats with a higher severity score
had an increased duration of hospitalisation.
Trauma can be defined as physical injury to the body, leading to
tissue damage as a direct result of a violent or accidental event
( Muir 2006 ). In total, 12 to 13% of cases presented to veterinar-
ians have incurred traumatic injury, making it one of the most
prevalent disorders both in referral and primary practices, with
the most common causes being road traffic accidents (RTA),
animal altercations and unknown causes ( Kolata et al . 1974 ,
O ’ Neill et al . 2014 ). Studies have found recurrent characteristics
in feline trauma cases, with young cats, male cats and those that
are allowed outdoor access being more likely to be involved in
traumatic events ( Buffington 2002 , Rochlitz 2003 ).
A number of studies have looked at different severity scoring
systems as prognostic indicators for trauma cases. The Animal
Trauma Triage (ATT) score, Modified Glasgow Coma Score and
the Feline Acute Patient Physiological and Laboratory Evaluation
score are previously validated severity scoring systems ( Rockar
et al . 1994 , Platt et al . 2001 , Hayes et al . 2010 ). However, none
of these has been validated in a population consisting only of
cat trauma patients, although a study examining cats involved in
RTAs using a simplified severity score (SS) based on traumatic
injuries, showed an increase in mortality rate in animals with a
higher score ( Rochlitz 2004 ).
The main aims of this study were to document the initial
management of feline trauma cases within primary care practice,
identify prognostic indicators and give recommendations for ini-
tial management of feline trauma patients.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Data for 185 feline trauma cases were collected from the North-
west Veterinary Specialist’s electronic patient records software
(Tristan; Tristan Veterinary Software Ltd) through a manual
search of the appointment diary to identify cases that were admit-
ted as emergencies between February 2009 and December 2013.
Cats admitted as emergencies to the referral centre, presenting
with injuries due to, or suspected to be due to, a traumatic event