Study investigates efficacy of vapocoolant spray in improving the tolerance of intravenous catheterisation in emergency patients

16 September 2022


There is limited research available in the veterinary literature on the analgesic effects of vapocoolant spray in canine or feline patients.

The study “The efficacy of vapocoolant spray for the improved tolerance of catheter pain in emergency patients” aimed to determine more specifically if application of vapocoolant spray before intravenous catheterisation resulted in reduced reaction and placement success. A randomised controlled trial of client-owned dogs and cats presenting as emergencies and requiring intravenous catheterisation was performed. Patient signalment and mentation score were recorded. Patients were randomly allocated to either a swab saturated with vapocoolant spray or a swab saturated with saline applied to the clipped area before intravenous catheterisation.

Indirect application of vapocoolant spray via a swab before catheterisation was not found to significantly reduce the reaction of dogs and cats, nor to improve placement success rates. The present study did demonstrate a significantly greater adverse response to vapocoolant spray application to the skin via a swab when compared with the saline control in canine patients; feline patients demonstrated adverse responses to both vapocoolant spray and saline swabs. It is unclear if the technique of application used in this study provided sufficient cooling effect to provide the required cryoanaesthesia to influence patient reaction. Future studies should be used to determine optimal vapocoolant spray application technique in dogs and cats, as well as examine its application in other populations and procedures.

Nicola Di Girolamo, Editor of JSAP concluded: “Pragmatic, adequately-powered, randomised controlled trials like the one presented here are essential to evaluate whether an intervention is not only efficacious in a controlled environment, but also effective during clinical practice.”


The full article can be found in the August issue of the Journal of Small Animal Practice and can be read online here:

The Journal of Small Animal Practice is published monthly and access to all articles is free for BSAVA members. For information on how to become a BSAVA member visit:


1 Trinder, R, Humm, K, Phillips, S, and Cole, L (2022) The efficacy of vapocoolant spray for the improved tolerance of catheter pain in emergency patients in dogs Journal of Small Animal Practice, Available at: