Aurora is a 4 year old Australian Cattle Dog with vet clinic induced anxiety. We aren't really sure what the catalyst for her behaviour was, often in these cases it is hard to determine a single event and usually it is a combination of genetic predisposition, personality and something happening at the clinic that the dog didn't like.
As much as we try and make your pet's visit to the clinic as stress-free as possible, sometimes we need to do procedures that may inadvertently threaten your pet, or come into their personal space. Other times, it is the timing of the procedure that affects the dog (or cat) most, for example, anything that happens to the puppy before it is 12 weeks old, especially in the social sense, is likely to create strong memories and associations.
In any case, Aurora came in for her 6 monthly check up and she was nervous. Thankfully, the owner already knew just how anxious Aurora can be, so she had rung ahead and organised to pick up some anti-anxiety medications to be given an hour prior to her visit. This is part of our new Fear Free movement; anti-anxiety medications used prospectively means that we are able to minimise more invasive handling techniques, and also allows us to examine your pet more thoroughly. We have had enormous success with it, and many clients now say that their pets actively want to come through the front door and take treats. As part of our Fear Free movement, we have expanded our treat range so that more tastes will be catered for: chicken jerky, liver or lung jerky, peanut butter, fresh chicken or Vegemite... We are open to more suggestions, as we know how effective treats can be in making your pet happy!
Aurora allowed a physical exam whilst being kept busy with liver treats, and then she enjoyed licking some peanut butter off a paddle pop stick whilst we vaccinated her. She was soon looking for more treats and pats, and barely realised that her visit to the vet had finished. The lucky girl was given more treats at reception when she was on her way out! We hope that next time she comes in she will be even more relaxed about her experience.
There is more information about Fear Free visits on our website, and please don't hesitate to call any of the AdelaideVet clinics to talk more about how Fear Free medication could help your pet.