So what is this thing called Fear Free Veterinary Practice?
The veterinary profession has finally realized that if we want to do more to help pets and owners we can't stress the heck out of them in the name of "help". When a pet is fearful, anxious, or stressed it will begin down a cascade of emotions that end in Fight or Flight, which is to say that they either hide in the corner of an exam room or they become aggressive to protect themselves. Fear Free practices attempt to head off the fear cascade by making the office, the staff, the exam room, and the veterinarian positive interactions, erasing the fearful memories of past vet visits.
Grocery stores have been doing this for years by playing soft soothing music and baking bread or cookies or some other delicious item that brings up positive memories in the shopper. At Victor Vet Care we use delicious aromas like bacon and shrimp that dogs and cats are crazy about to help reduce anxiety before the visit even begins. Calming pheromones are diffused around the office and music designed to be soothing to the cat or dog ear is played during your visit. Yummy treats are used to reinforce the positive experience of the exam. Behind the scenes special attention is paid to many details such as the color scheme of the walls and enzyme neutralizers to clean the exam rooms between each visit. We want you and your pet to be as relaxed as possible. Quite frankly, it makes our job easier too!
Erasing years of frightening memories doesn't happen over night. In some cases it will take several visits and the use of different strategies to replace bad memories with good ones. Some very fearful pets may need calming medication to help relax them, these can be sent home ahead of the visit so they are more effective. On rare occasions, an extremely fearful or aggressive pet may need sedation to be able to handle and examine them thoroughly. In these cases reversible injectable medications can be used very safely. Occasionally it may be best to stop a visit and have the pet return when it is calmer. Each visit has the goal of reducing or stopping the waterfall of fear that pets have been feeling for years.
By treating you and your pet like Friends we can prevent the Fight or Flight instinct.