Effectiveness of F3 feline facial pheromone analogue for acute stress reduction within clinical veterinary practice



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PICO Question

In cats within a clinical veterinary context, does the application of the F3 feline facial pheromone (Feliway™), when compared to placebo, reduce signs of acute stress?


Clinical bottom line

Category of research


Number and type of study designs reviewed

Five papers were critically reviewed. There were three prospective, double-blinded, randomised controlled trials, one prospective, single-blinded, randomised controlled trial and one prospective, single-blinded, non-randomised controlled trial.

Strength of evidence


Outcomes reported

Four studies found improvement in select indicators of acute stress following F3 feline facial pheromone analogue (FFPA) exposure. One study showed FFPA reduced patient stress during routine physical examination, and improved caregiver impression of patient relaxation and ease of handling. One study revealed FFPA decreased vocalisations but had no effect upon systolic blood pressure during physical examination. One study determined that FFPA calmed but did not reduce struggling during venous catheterisation. One study demonstrated reduced time to sedation and propofol induction dose for routine surgical procedures when a transport protocol incorporating FFPA was applied. Finally, one study found no significant effect of FFPA upon behavioural and physiologic measures of acute stress during physical examination. No studies reported outward negative effects associated with FFPA exposure.


It can be concluded that FFPA may reduce signs of acute stress within a clinical veterinary context. Additionally, exposure to FFPA is unlikely to cause patient harm. To optimise patient welfare, FFPA is not recommended as a sole agent for stress mitigation and should instead be incorporated holistically with patient friendly handling, clinic design, and pharmacotherapy where indicated.


How to apply this evidence in practice

The application of evidence into practice should take into account multiple factors, not limited to: individual clinical expertise, patient’s circumstances and owners’ values, country, location or clinic where you work, the individual case in front of you, the availability of therapies and resources.

Knowledge Summaries are a resource to help reinforce or inform decision making. They do not override the responsibility or judgement of the practitioner to do what is best for the animal in their care.


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Vol. 8 No. 4 (2023): The fourth issue of 2023

Section: Knowledge Summaries

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