3 exam room enrichment tips
Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior, FacultyAcademy of Veterinary Behavior Technicians, President-ElectFear Free, Certified Professional Level 2, Standards Development CommitteeFamily Paws Parent Education, Educator for Veterinary Professionals
Offer enrichment for veterinary patients with these easy-to-apply approaches.
Are you ready to take the scary out of a pet's exam? Consider this approach for a more enriching experience.
Prep the exam room for patient arrival. This includes soft lamp lighting (spot lighting from phone when needed), calming music, white noise, a thick mat for floor seating if preferred, a variety of treats, supplies for the exam and diagnostics at the ready. Remember, when people enter and exit rooms, this is arousing to the pet and can increase stress. It's also a good idea to have a laptop on hand for scheduling rechecks. This minimizes the pet's time in the lobby.
Position the animal according to the patient's preference for exams, diagnostics and treatment to minimize the pet's stress. Fear and stress activate flight, fight, freeze or fidget responses. It's important to maintain the perception of flight to minimize escalation to fight. (All images courtesy of Medvet Medical & Cancer Center.)
Sherrie Yuschak, RVT, VTS (behavior), CPDT-KA, is member-at-large of the Academy of Veterinary Behavior Technicians. She is also the owner of Better Behavior Solutions and a clinical behavioral technician at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.