The No. 1 tip to take the stress out of a veterinary visit
Gary Landsberg DVM, DACVB, DECAWBM (companion animals)
Dr. Gary Landsberg received his DVM from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1976 and is a board-certified behaviorist of both the American and European colleges. He offers behavior consultation services at the North Toronto Veterinary Behaviour Specialty Clinic in Thornhill, is a consultant for VIN, Vice President of Veterinary Affairs for CanCog Technologies and a member of the Fear Free initiative executive committee. He is co-author of Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat. Dr. Landsberg received the companion animal behavior award from AAHA in 2000 and the meritorious service award from the Western Veterinary Conference in 2014.
When it comes to creating a positive veterinary visit for pets, owners and teams, Dr. Gary Landsberg says there should be one word driving every action: Individualization.
You ARE a special little snowflake-and your patients and clients are, too! We all come from different backgrounds, and we all have different genetics. Whatever behavior you learn, from before birth through developmental stages to long after, makes you the person you are today. This applies to pets, too.
So when you face a fearful pet in your clinic, Gary Landsberg, DVM, DACVB, DECAWBM (companion animals), told attendees at a recent CVC that there should always be one word on your mind before, during and after a veterinary visit: “individualize." According to Dr. Landsberg, this means pets aren't all the same, and they will change as time goes on.
Not only are pets' personalities different, but their owners, environments, background and many other factors are different-and this can play into how a pet behaves in your clinic. One dog may have cowered in the back seat of a minivan on the way to the clinic; one cat may have perched happily in her carrier on the back of a motorcycle. Owners-and therefore, pets-each have their own lifestyle, and because of this, each visit needs to be unique and individualized for each patient.
To help keep each visit individualized from before they get to the clinic to long after they leave, Dr. Landsberg says record-keeping is your ally. When you call to book the appointment, you want to record all concerns: whether sedation might be necessary, if the owner needs to spray Feliway in the carrier, if there will be other pets in the waiting room and the visit must be scheduled at a certain time and even how the pet and people will be greeted at the door. Record these notes after each visit to eliminate the negatives and accentuate the positives of a veterinary visit.