Helping Reduce Fear, Anxiety, and Stress for your pets at the Veterinary Clinic
The #1 reason pet owners don’t take their pets to the vet is because of stress to the pet. With Fear Free Veterinary Visits, we take the pet out of petrified! Here are 5 ways you can help make the veterinary visit less stressful for your pet:
- Prep your pet: Accustom your pet to her carrier or restraint device and condition happy experiences in the vehicle. Consider using pheromones such as Feliway for cats, and Adaptil for dogs, in the carrier and in the vehicle, as well as playing soft, soothing music such as classical or jazz.
- Limit food before visit: Bringing pets in hungry increases the reward value of food during the visit to better condition the pet to the positives of care.
- Explore waiting room alternatives: Work with our receptionist or other team members to determine the optimal location to wait with your pet prior to care.
- Be open to non-traditional techniques: This can include not taking the pets temperature, examining the pet in your lap or on the floor and using treat and toy coaxers to move animals willingly onto the scale, and into the exam room and onto the table.
- Consider proven, new strategies to reduce fear, anxiety, and stress in your pet: In many cases, pets will benefit tremendously from pre-visit medications, supplements or sedatives, as well as conditioning the pet to aspects of vet care prior to their next visit.
- Learn about Fear Free: Learn the signs of low, moderate and high levels of fear/anxiety in your pet. Work with your veterinarian to de-escalate fear and anxiety during the exam room experience. Be open to stopping procedures and rescheduling your pet for a less stressful experience with the guidance of your veterinarian. Remember, the more anxiety and fear an animal experiences at the vet, the more your pet’s fear and anxiety will increase at subsequent visits.
Dogs & Children
Having or being familiar with dogs can be a great experience for children. It is very important, however, to teach them a few tips and ground rules that will make interaction with dogs fun and safe for them. Here are some basic tips to teach your child about when it comes to meeting a dog. To start with it is a very good idea for a child to learn to always ask before petting a new dog. From there a gentle approach is a good start to a dog/child friendship. It is good to start by the child holding out their hand and letting the dog sniff it. If the dog comes closer, it is feeling relaxed and interested in some attention. If it doesn’t come closer, it may just take a little bit of patience and for the child to wait until the dog is comfortable enough to approach and meet someone new. Teach the child to stay reasonably calm and not rush at the dog or make lots of noise, which could confuse or scare the dog. When petting the dog, direct the child to avoid tapping the dog on the top of the head. They much prefer a rub behind the ear or a stroke on the shoulder or under their chin. If you have a puppy or dog in your household, it is also very beneficial for them to be introduced to children from early on. It is a good part of social training, and positive for them even if they are not going to have children around them a lot of the time.
Declaw or not?
Scratching is a normal behavior of cats. In many cases, a cat can be trained to scratch only appropriate surfaces. However, a cat’s excessive or inappropriate scratching behavior can become destructive or cause cause injury to people in the home.
Alternative Training and Management Options:
- Providing appropriate scratching surfaces, such as dedicated posts and/or boards that are tall enough to encourage stretching
- Frequent nail trims-every 1-2 weeks
- Nail caps-replaced every 4-6 weeks
- Pheromone sprays or plug-ins
- Discourage use of inappropriate surfaces by attaching sticky tape or tinfoil
- Punishment is not an effective deterrent
When Alternatives Are Not Enough
When undesirable scratching is not able to be managed, declawing may be the only alternative. While not a first choice, nor a minor procedure, if properly performed, declawing will allow your cat to remain in an otherwise good home.
Because elective declawing is performed for the benefit of the owner rather than the cat, this procedure remains controversial. The decision to have your cat declawed should be carefully considered in consultation with your veterinarian. Declawing should only be performed after all other alternatives have been exhausted. Declawed cats should not be allowed outdoors, unless they are under supervision.
Dog Ice Cream Recipe
3 Ripe Bananas
32 Ounces of Plain Yogurt
1 Cup of Peanut Butter
Directions: Blend, then pour the mixture into ice cube trays, freeze. In a couple hours you will have a cool treat for your dog!
A microchip is an easy, inexpensive, nonpainful technology that lets animal control organizations, shelters and veterinarians know who to call if your pet were to get lost.
Microchips are the size of a grain of rice. They function as a form of ID that’s implanted under a pet’s skin. The chip is encrypted with a unique number used to identify your pet and you as his owner. It doesn’t require a battery and is reliable for his entire life.
We’ll inject the chip between your pets shoulders in much the same way we would give a shot. Once the chip has been implanted, you’ll register him with his name and your name and contact information in an online registry that’s accessible worldwide. This safeguards your pet against an “identity crisis” if he’s ever separated from you.
Meet Our Groomer
Kristin is our groomer here at the Antigo Veterinary Clinic. She has been a groomer for almost 9 years, and has groomed at our clinic for 3 years. She has two dogs, Cujo and Chloe, and three cats, Sapphire, Jack, and Ling Ling. She has an amazing love for all animals, and will treat yours as if they are hers.
Call today for an appointment!
The Importance of testing for Feline Leukemia (FeLV) & FIV
Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Feline Immune Deficiency Virus (FIV) are spread from cat to cat. Up to 15 percent of cats showing symptoms of illness are infected with at least one of these viruses. Neither virus is curable, however both can be treated and managed if caught early.
Infected cats can live for many years if diagnosed and treated properly. Early detection also enables you to prevent the viruses from spreading to other cats in your home.
Testing requires a small blood sample and takes about 10 minutes for the test results. Since the viruses take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months to show a positive on the test, a negative may be followed up with a second test. Frequency of testing depends on your cat’s lifestyle.
Testing is needed if your cat:
- Has never been tested before.
- Is a newly adopted cat or kitten.
- Lives with an infected cat.
- Is sick, even if he or she has been tested negative in the past.
- May have been exposed to an infected cat.
- Is going to have a Feline Leukemia vaccine.
FeLV is spread when saliva or urine of an infected cat comes into contact with an uninfected cat. Kittens born to infected mothers also often have the virus.
FIV is spread when an infected cat bites another. Rarely does an infected mother infect her kittens. FIV, unlike FeLV, survives outside the body for only a few minutes.
Signs of FeLV & FIV:
- Decreased appetite
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Respiratory conditions
- Weight loss
- Pale Gums
- Neurological disease
- Decreased grooming
- Mouth sores
- Urinary problems
- Decreased energy
- Kidney problems
Neither virus can be cured, but both can be managed if caught early. Treatment includes good nutrition and antiviral medications to the support the immune system. Infected cats’ immune systems can’t fight off common illness that uninfected cats can.