Fear Free and Low Stress Handling:
Did you know there is an entire organization dedicated to low stress handling for pets? This group, called Fear Free puts out tips and tricks but also runs training courses, which many of our vets have completed to train us how to best put your pet (and you) at ease during visits. Nothing is perfect, and not every pet needs this help or will be receptive to the concepts, but if your pet does need assistance, please know, you are not alone and we can help.
The most important part of this concept is open communication between you and your vet. You may be surprised to know that one of the top reasons owners delay seeking care for their pet is because their pet had a negative or stressful experience at the vet. If your pet is an anxious one, you may know that it is hard to do a thorough exam or to deliver information to you during these stressful visits, which limits our medical expertise and can impact our ability to deliver great care.
However, don’t worry, we have some options to help make this situation more tolerable for your pet and to allow us to do a better exam on site and to allow you to feel less anxiety upon scheduling and bringing your pet in.
We work to keep our facility calm and as quiet as possible. We also have high value treats in each room so we can help your pet to learn that the vet can be a tasty excursion. For some pets distraction is enough to alleviate stress.
We also utilize Feliway, a natural product that has a scent pleasing to cats.
You may notice, we wrap your pet in a towel or place an elizabethan collar, so your pet can focus on seeing you and not on what we are doing as part of exam behind their line of site. Some pets even feel more comfortable when muzzled, and these tools are all parts of low stress handling.
Our team can also prescribe anti-anxiety medication to help make your pet more comfortable at their vet visits. Just like us, pets can experience high fear, anxiety and stress (FAS), especially when they are out of their normal routine or environment. Pre-visit medication is a wonderful and safe tool that can be used to decrease your pet’s FAS.
In rare cases, sometimes we lean on telemedicine for follow up appointments in the right situations to further alleviate stress but not limit our ability to deliver care and ensure progress is made in healing.
When the FAS is decreased, the veterinary care is easier for them and for the team delivering it.
- Decreasing FAS allows us to provide the best emotional and physical care
- Coming to the veterinary office will be easier for your pet and subsequently for you
- Easier examinations and treatment delivery
- More accurate vital signs and test results
- Allows us to decrease the doses (hence reducing the risk) of sedatives and anesthesia when given in advance*
- Many pets have reduced FAS for future visits, when the FAS cycle is broken
- Decreases your pet from building increased fearful memories of veterinary care
These low stress principles are not just something we work on with you during outpatient visits, but our surgical patients are also often given oral pre-medication to help alleviate stress and if they need hospitalization, we are also always monitoring their anxiety levels and medicating if needed to help facilitate healing without undue stress.
These concepts are always evolving, so you may notice things change over time, but please know that we CARE about your pet’s physical health and their emotional well-being. If this information if interesting or helpful to you, please don’t hesitate to ask us how we can help your pet in the future.