A Fear Free Practice is Very Important to Us!
Not every Veterinary practice is a Fear Free practice and some practices don't think the idea is important. So why is Munford Animal Hospital concerned with becoming a fear free practice? Or maybe a better question is why should you as the owner be concerned if we are a fear free practice.
We are making both a pet’s physical and emotional wellbeing a priority. Stress is not good for people or their pets! Unfortunately when pets arrive for an exam we cannot reason with them and tell them everything is going to be ok. All your pet knows is strange place, strange smell, strange sound, strange people and now he or she is in stress overload. Stress can lead to delayed healing, difficult exams, aggression, fear, etc. These are the ideas and real events we are changing. A fear free practice is a work in progress and may take several visits but we strive to change "strange" into good place, good smells, good sounds, good people and now your pet is good. So how do we do this? In this blog I am going to inform you of a few changes we have implemented. Many of you have already experienced a annual exam and said "Wow that was great - he didn't even know he got shots today" - THIS IS THE GOAL = FEAR FREE
Step one : Coaching the staff on Handling The assistants have been coached on how to handle the pets in a less restrictive/ less stressful manner. This means: no fast movements, get on their level, constantly petting and talking in a calm voice, do not get in a hurry, move at their pace and adjust. Cats can be the most difficult of patients. By giving them some time in their own cat room and allowing them to explore for a few moments while the assistant gets the history.They have become less fearful and more comfortable. This allows us to handle them with less restraints, which is of course the goal.
Step two: Give the Cats and Dogs their own space We try not to cross the two patients. Cats generally are fearful of dogs they don't know. But Guess what ? They also don't want to smell or hear them! So we gave them their own Cat exam room and their own boarding space away from the dogs.
Step four: Minimize the waiting area
We will often try to get cat patients in as quickly as possible to the Cat Room. This helps minimize stress and noise. Some dogs may also not be comfortable with exposure to other dogs, so we have them wait in the exam room instead of the lobby. This allows them to have their own space and quiet time.
Step five : Bring on the pheromones
Did you know they make calming pheromones for dogs and cats. A Veterinary company called Ceva makes two different products Feliway for the cats and Adaptil for the Dogs.
Feliway spray is a feline facial pheromone analogue. That means that it is a man-made version of the substance your cat deposits when she rubs her cheek on your leg or furniture. This substance is a signal that cats use to mark objects in their "territory". The smell tells the cat she is in a safe place. Feliway can be used to make a new place or situation "feel" more familiar and safe for cats
Adaptil has been proven to have a positive effect on puppies and dogs of all ages, helping reduce the signs of stress-related behaviors exhibited when encountering new experiences, unknown , environments, and other stressful situations.
Step 6: Make vaccinations less painful
We have chosen to use ULTRA vaccines from Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI). The Ultra vaccines are 1/2 ml doses with 50% less volume than most vaccines. More information can be found at BeVaccineSmart.com. This offers a more comfortable experience for the patient. We also chose to use a new vaccine choice available for protection from the primary pathogen of canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD). Bronchi-Shield® ORAL is unique because it is the first live, avirulent Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccine licensed to be administered orally to dogs. Oral administration means no needles and no fear!
These are just 6 of the ways we have implemented change. It would take a week to go through all our changes , which include pain medications, environmental enrichment for the cat patients, new equipment, new anesthesia protocols, new medication administration, new medications, new odor control protocols, new staff, etc.
We strive to offer every client and every patient the best possible experience in a fear free environment! We want everyone to come experience the difference.