For many furry companions, a visit to the vet can be a difficult experience. In fact, in this situation it is very common for pets to suffer stress, anxiety or fear.
As veterinarians, we must ensure the animal’s physical and emotional well-being. While it is difficult for the animal to be totally stress-free, there are some things we can do to improve their experience. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Stressful Situations for Pets
There are many stressful situations for animals, but a visit to the vet is certainly one of the main ones. The cause of stress in animals can be for a number of factors. For example, it is possible that the animal is afraid of the unfamiliar environment (especially in the case of cats).
Moreover, loud noises around the clinic or from other animals there can also cause stress. Another very typical situation is when the owner leaves their pet companion alone at the vet’s office.
How Can This Affect the Veterinary Clinic?
When a pet arrives at a clinic feeling stressed, its visit may have some added problems. In these cases the animal can be more aggressive (nervous or scared, really) and the veterinarian runs the risk of receiving a bite or scratch, not to mention having difficulty treating their patient.
The vitals of the animal may be altered due to its condition, so it can be difficult to assess whether the variable is generally within normal levels. The veterinarian will also have to spend more time handling the animal to find out if everything is within the expected range.
In addition, the patient may be at risk of hurting themself due to their anxious state. When stressed, they often show more resistance to therapy and even more pain, especially in the case of cats.
What Can We Do to Reduce Stress in Animals?
When a very upset pet arrives, the most common approach is to reduce its stress through sedation or tranquillisers. However, this can be time-consuming and suboptimal for the animal. Overall there are other, better ways you can calm the situation.
For example, you can ask the owner to make the journey to the surgery with the carrier covered. This way, the pet will not receive so much information and may be able to travel more calmly. Another tip is to try to keep the journey as short as possible. If it is difficult to park in the area of the clinic, you can ask the client to be accompanied by another person who can drop him or her off at the door, for example.
Furthermore, at the veterinary clinic, you can also set up a waiting room for felines, as they tend to get more stressed. Having a separate area for them will give them more time to recover and calm down. Additionally, patients should only be seen by appointment (with the exception of emergencies). The use of feline calming pheromones could be added.
Thanks to telemedicine, you can also ask regular customers to have an online consultation beforehand to find out whether a visit to the clinic is really necessary.
Within the veterinary practice, there are tools that can help animals feel more comfortable. One of them is the multi-parametric harness, which helps professionals measure the vital signs of patients without them being handled and stressed.
Small Ways to Improve Animal Welfare
Although it can be very difficult to manage an animal’s stress, at your veterinary clinic you can guide your clients to try to reduce these situations. Thanks to these small actions, you can improve the welfare of the animal. Moreover, thanks to the use of technology, it is also possible to reduce the number of face-to-face visits without sacrificing the quality of service.