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Choose Low Stress & Fear Free Veterinary Visit

Within a year of graduating from veterinary school, I realized that there was very little information for the owners, staff and veterinarian on the behaviour of our companion animals. I decided to take Dr. Sophia Yin’s Low-Stress Handling course. It was a course that was challenging and extremely useful. As soon as I started the course, I saw an improvement in my patient’s comfort and as a result, my confidence grew as a new veterinarian.

It has been over a year since I completed the course, and I still use the techniques I learned, every day in fact. In practice, I approach dogs low to the ground avoiding eye contact. I can read when a dog is stressed by looking for ears that are back, eyes that are wide and stance that is stiff. I start with my low-stress handling techniques first by introducing my hand and allowing them to visit the exam room.

I hope that more people can participate in veterinary medicine using low-stress handling techniques. We can grow a community of pets that are not afraid of the veterinary clinic and the staff there. Where pets are scared, for example during cases of a disease, we can provide an environment that is calm and as comfortable as possible.

I am continuing my education by taking the Fear Free course. It shares many of the techniques and goals outlined by Dr Sophia Yin’s Low-Stress Handling course. Both courses outline the need for preparation by the owners and pets prior to the examination.

I want this to be the take-home message: a low stress fear-free veterinary visit starts with learning what you can do to help at home. For cats and small dogs, take the crate out over a week before the exam, get your pet interested in the crate with toys and treats. For large and excited dogs, create an environment that is relaxed at home before the car drive over to the veterinary clinic.

For more information on low-stress and fear free visits please call the clinic and we will walk you through these practices and what you can do to help your pet enjoy their visit to the Vet!

Written by Dr. Marianne Parent, DVM

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