PET BEHAVIOR MEDICINE

dr. stefanie schwartz (949) 342-6644

   Nov 19

Topic of the Month (March)

Aggression at the Veterinarian’s Office

It is not unusual to find some degree of fear or anxiety in most pets even after a single uneventful visit to a veterinary hospital. They may have been transported for the first time in a carrier and then a car. The reception area is filled with the scents of unfamiliar pets, people and other odors. They are then taken into an examination room to be handled by a stranger who may cause them unavoidable discomfort. Hospitalization for a surgical procedure or medical treatment may follow. Fear out of proportion to the actual danger present is classified as a phobia. A fearful response at the veterinarian’s office is probably the most common phobia in companion animals. Some pet become so fearful at the veterinarian’s office that they risk injuring themselves and anyone attempting to handle them.

If your pet develops an excessive fear of your veterinary center, you will both be helped to feel comfortable by seeking the help of a veterinary behaviorist. Pets can be professionally desensitized over time to decrease and even eliminate their emotional aversion to the veterinary office. A fearful and aggressive pet is difficult to examine and to treat. Resolving this problem could have tremendous benefits down the road. In the meantime, if you are asked to separate yourself from your panicking cat or to place a muzzle on your growling dog, have confidence in your veterinarian’s judgment and concern for your pet’s best interest.

© Stefanie Schwartz 2011