PETS and VETERINARY CLINICS – Creating a Calm Environment

We all know how stressful evenumbrella-cockatoo-showing-affection the most basic of veterinary visits can be for both the pet and pet owner. Pets may be extremely sensitive to an owner’s anxieties.

We encourage a discussion on  how the experience can be improved so here are our initial thoughts on creating/improving a “calm environment” for pets and clients. Below is a list of some ideas we have compiled.

We are very interested to hear your thoughts on these ideas in addition to any ideas you may have.

The Veterinary Hospital

• Reduce the time the animal needs to spend in the reception area being exposed to unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells. Establish a “pager” system similar to popular restaurants whereby the animal can remain in the car or outdoors until the owner is alerted to actually enter the exam room.

• Have a streaming video of calming scenery and sounds in the exam room to promote a more relaxed animal and owner.

• Get acquainted with exotic animal practitioners in the area and be willing to refer a patient to one who will be knowledgeable about working with all species.

• Provide for the mental health of the hospitalized pet. Designate a person in the hospital who is not directly involved in treatments who can provide compassion and comfort for the patient – just ‘being’ with the animal to encourage a sense of security and healing.

• Any air neutralizer or disinfectant used between patients should be of the “safe” variety as many are toxic (should be specifically safe for birds).

Service to Owner

• Much of the fear expressed by the animal relates to the fear of the owners, especially regarding cost of the diagnosis and treatment. Offer a pre-visit consultation regarding financial options for care regardless of the problem and some discussion of what to expect during the veterinary visit.

• Owners may be fearful because they do not know enough about their species. Establish a networking relationship with exotic animal professional organizations to refer owners for proper husbandry and other care requirements: Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV), Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV), Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians (AEMV).

• Depending on the case and problem, be willing to offer some prophylactic/preventive/holistic suggestions.

Service to Patient

• Some birds respond to the following suggestions for a more pleasant experience:

– Transport the bird, if possible, in a box with fabric covered holes so it can vaguely see out.
– Keep exam rooms dimly lit (or even dark) to keep the bird calm.
– Pick up the bird from a low area, low table or even the floor.
– In some cases, it may work to take the bird out of the client’s sight to do the procedure.

• Allow owners to spend sufficient time with a hospitalized animal for comfort and to provide feeding or other special/social needs

Comments are closed.