The house that Fear Free built
Brendan Howard oversees veterinary business, practice management and life-balance content for dvm360.com, dvm360 magazine, Firstline and Vetted, and plans the Practice Management track at all three Fetch dvm360 conferences.Brendan has proudly served under the Veterinary Economics and dvm360 banners for more than 10 years. Before that, he worked as a journalist, writer and editor at Entrepreneur magazine and a top filmed entertainment magazine in Southern California. Brendan received a Masters in English Literature from University of California, Riverside, in 1999.
OK, not a house, but a two-walled exam room courtesy of Animal Arts that stands up beautifully in a veterinary conference exhibit hall. See the photos and read on for some advice from Dr. Jonathan Bloom, who demonstrated a few Fear Free exams at the most recent Fetch dvm360 conference.
OK, so the mock-up veterinary exam room (built by HospitalDesign360 conference regulars from Animal Arts!) and the charismatic and knowledgeable Jonathan Bloom, DVM, and the attentive audience (thanks, Fetch dvm360 attendees!) were all great.
But the big reason these demonstrations of low-stress techniques worked is because of one very small canine:
Meekah made our day
Yup, adorable Meekah showed up for three days for short, lively Fear Free demonstrations. (Thanks, Meekah's awesome two-legged person, Ashley Irvin!) She was nervous in the beginning, but got relaxed with frequent treats. Yes, Fear Free is partly tasty food.
What did Meekah, Ashley and Dr. Bloom do? What didn't they do?
Let's start with the picture above, which shows our canine comrade sporting a bandana sprayed 15 minutes before the visit with Adaptil. "It takes some time for the alcohol carrier in the pheromone spray to evaporate before exposing pets to it," explains Dr. Bloom.
Dr. Bloom says he enters an exam room, greets the pet owner, ignores the dog while putting a bandana on the pooch, and then lets the patient chill for a bit while he talks up the client.
Read my plaque
Another thing clients can do in Dr. Bloom's Fear Free-certified practice? Read all about how a veterinary visit is different in a facility that focuses on low-stress care. (That's Dr. Bloom's own handout our mock client above is reading.) "It talks about how your experience will be different today," he says. "Calming music playing, pheromones, doctor approaches calmly and slowly and may ignore your pet at the beginning just to allow time for your pet to get accustomed to us."
'I'm going to whiz on the floor here'
The doctor's doing what on the rug?! No, not that whiz ... Dr. Bloom's spraying cheese in a smiley-face on the no-slip mat for the dog to lick up while the sneaky veterinarian starts a physical exam on the distracted dog.
When was the last time you cleaned this?
Dr. Bloom likes his stethoscope clean and nice-smelling. He wipes down his stethoscope between rooms with Rescue and then a pheromone wipe or spray. "That just increases the concentration and detection of the good pheromones already diffusing through the room," he says.
Join the audience
The Fear Free demonstration space will show up again at Fetch dvm360 in Kansas City and San Diego this year. Come see the doctors and team members on hand to demonstrate what calmer visits can look like.
You. Can. Do. This!
At Fetch dvm360 conference, we're the support system you need. With every conference this year, we intend to nurture your mind (meaning quality CE for days) while also encouraging you to take stock of your physical and emotional health. Register now.