At VETDERM Clinic, we strive to use a Fear Free approach with all pets and consider both the physical and emotional wellbeing of our patients. Fear Free is a certification program for veterinary professionals, which utilizes methods and tools to minimize symptoms of fear, anxiety, and stress in pets. The disruption in your pet’s normal routine, strange smells, noises of other animals, and handling by veterinary staff can all contribute to fearful, anxious, or stressed behavior in your pet. Even behavior we think of as excitement like jumping, barking, or impatiently munching on treats can be signs of nervousness. The goal of Fear Free and those who practice it, is to provide your pet with a veterinary experience that is as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.
It is especially important to use Fear Free practices within the dermatology environment as many skin and ear conditions can be irritating or even painful and many also require long term or lifelong maintenance therapy at home. During the dermatology examination sensitive areas such as the ears, will be examined and sampled to help assess your pet’s condition. This may cause discomfort to your pet which leads to further fear, anxiety, and stress within the veterinary environment. This can cause subsequent vet visits and treatments at home to become increasingly more difficult for pets and pet parents. Fear Free practices can help prevent these difficulties and in pet’s where there are already significant treatment difficulties, we can utilize training techniques like counter conditioning and desensitization to help your pet become more comfortable with treatments.
A Fear Free visit may be a slower pace than the average vet visit. This gives your pet time to acclimate to the clinic environment and VETDERM Clinic team. It also gives our team time to assess your pet and decide on how we might be the most successful in handling that will avoid further stress to your pet. Sometimes the use of anti anxiety medications and/or sedation/anesthesia may be required or appointments may also need to be split into more than one visit, to ensure the comfort of your pet.