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Volume 24(3), Autumn 2014

Commissioned paper

Calm pets, happy vets

Reducing stress and preventing and managing fear aggression in veterinary clinics

by Sophia Yin

Scary monsters!

 

Often we reach out in a friendly gesture not realizing how scary we may look to the fearful pet. This type of approach is enough to cause a pet that is unfamiliar with you to protect itself by snapping at or biting you.

 

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Avoid scruffing

 

With cats, the traditional method for restraint is scruffing. The Association of Feline Practitioners Feline Friendly Handling Guidelines generally recommends against scruffing and many cat-only veterinarians and veterinary behaviourists avoid scruffing as they feel it may cause stress ...

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Client hand-outs

Frequently, our canine or feline patient is anxious even before he arrives at the hospital and by the time he’s in the exam room, he’s in a high stress state. ...

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Desensitisation and counter-conditioning

 

This video gives an example of how to desensitise and counter-condition a dog that resents having its nails trimmed. This step-by-step training video shows how a potential nightmare can be transformed into an easy intervention – in a matter of minutes.

Example: nail trims

While cats are often routinely scruffed or stretched for procedures and dogs are frequently forcefully restrained, even for simple procedures such as toenail trims, we know that such handling can greatly increase anxiety in pets. Low Stress Handling techniques can replace these traditional methods and ultimately create safer and more efficient visits. From creating a calm, inviting environment, to using towel wrap techniques, to multiple methods for handling pets of different sizes and temperaments, there are many principles and techniques that can allow you to adjust to the patient’s needs. The overall result is a pet that is friendly and cooperative, staff with less injuries, and clients who are happier.