Campaign launched to raise awareness of veterinary phobia

Campaign launched to raise awareness of veterinary phobia

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Dec 18, 2008
By dvm360.com staff
Los Angeles -- All veterinarians have had a patient who is less than thrilled to see them.

The terrified dog is dragged into the clinic by its owner, who is physically spent from the effort it took to remove the animal from the car.

The dog pulls and lunges to get away, eventually cowering under a chair or behind its owner after failing to do so.

And that's only the beginning.

Once in the exam room, the animal may whimper, cry, bark, bite or try to hide. Even worse, that phobia can cause diagnostic and medical problems.

But there is a campaign underway to increase understanding of "veterinary phobia" by educating DVMs and owners about the condition. The campaign will demonstrate how the total pet experience can become a more positive event.

Rolan Tripp, DVM, owner and founder of the Animal Behavior Network (ABN), plans to enlist the support of the veterinary profession, pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies, as well as veterinary institutions in the campaign.

The objective is to share the training module Tripp has developed for practices that better prepare the owner and patient for the visit. Examples include a corrective behavior consultation for every pet that comes through door, enrolling the client in an e-course for positive pet training and providing online and telephone instructions for owners before they go in. Some of those instructions include, fasting for the animal, collecting a fecal sample at home, bringing a favorite snack or cookie to the visit.

Tripp believes many pets experience such a phobic response during their veterinary visit that it affects their quality of care. This phobic response may contribute to inaccurate clinical signs during the pet's exam, compromise clinical lab work, and the pet's ability to be handled and treated.

His "Pet Perception Management" manual and his "Pet Centered Practice" online program, educates veterinary teams and pet owners on how to prevent veterinary phobia.

Tripp and his wife, Susan, who has a master's in psychology, have devoted their careers to promoting gentle techniques to help protect pets from both physical and emotional pain in the veterinary setting.

The campaign will demonstrate how the total pet experience can become a more positive event.

More information is available at www.animalbehavior.net.