What Is A Veterinary Behaviorist?
Veterinary behavior is a board certified specialty of veterinary medicine. Veterinary behaviorists use techniques that are used in human psychiatry and psychology, including behavior modification and life style changes. Psychoactive medication may also be appropriate in certain cases to complement other treatment recommendations. Psychoactive herbs may be an option as well. The possibility of an underlying medical illness is always considered in any patient referred because of a behavior problem.
Veterinary behavior requires many years of training and clinical experience. Self-proclaimed dog or cat experts are not qualified to diagnose or treat your pet’s behavior problem and may actually make things worse. Specialists in veterinary behavior have trained intensively; there are less than 50 veterinary behavior specialists in the world.
The treatment of behavior cases requires thoughtful insight into your pet’s life history. A behavior consult generally takes two hours time to investigate and explain the behavior problem, and to discuss the treatment plan. The goal of treatment is always to restore the love you have for your pet and to improve the quality of life for you both for many years to come.
What Problems Does A Veterinary Behaviorist Treat?
Behavior problems are the most important causes for the abandonment, euthanasia and relinquishment of otherwise healthy pets. Many behavior problems respond to simple treatments, whereas others gradually improve. Longstanding problems can be more challenging but should not be given up for lost. Here are a few of the reasons to see a veterinary behavior specialist:
- Sleep Disturbance
- Aggression toward People, including Children
- Aggressive Conflicts between Housemates
- Nipping and Overly Active Puppies or Kittens
- Separation Anxiety Syndrome
- Anxiety, Fears and Phobias
- Compulsive Behaviors
- House Soiling Cats
- House Training Problems in Dogs
- Introducing New Pets
- Behavior Problems of Senior Cats and Dogs
“I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are,
how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind
and take care of their needs …[They] are an obligation put on us,
a responsibility we have no right to neglect, nor to violate by cruelty.”
Dr. James Herriot