I am a pretty easy going doberwoman, but even the dogs that act like they are not afraid can have anxiety and stress. I am excited to say that Dr. Mahan and all of the full time staff at Riverview have completed their certifications to be fear free. Why is it important? Well when pets are stressed it can hide diseases or even slow down healing. At Riverview we are trying to make the entire experience less stress for you and your pets, starting from the car ride into the hospital!
I wanted to let you in on some of the neat stuff Riverview is doing to make it a less stress visit for everyone! If your dog is leash or dog reactive, let us know and we’ll make sure to get them in the exam room when you arrive! Cats always go into the room immediately, so they don’t have to be frightened by other cats or dogs. We may not take your pet’s temperature if they are too stressed and it is not a sick visit. If your pet prefers to stay on the ground, we will look at them on the ground where they are the most comfortable. Sometimes cats prefer to hide their head in their carriers, we may do the exam with your cat tucked away in their carrier (this is why we prefer the hard carriers where the top can be removed.) But if your pet loves to be up high, we’ll use a yoga mat and sometimes towel (sprayed with a calming pheromone of course) on the table. Examinations and blood draws are almost always done in front of the pet owners, but sometimes owners presence can add to the pet’s stress and we may ask you to step out of the exam room or we may take your pet to the treatment area if they have a negative association with exam rooms. If your pet seems to be nervous or stressed, we will not force them to hold still for a nail trim or blood draw. The stresses and fears of your pet can worsen after every visit if we make them do something that they are uncomfortable with. Our team will discuss medications that you can give at home before your visit to help with your pet’s fear, anxiety and stress. Or we may discuss injectable sedation that is reversible. The team makes notes in your pet’s file as to which exam room they prefer, what treats they like, how they prefer to be held, and even which leg to draw blood from! A huge part of fear free are lots of treats! We will use many treats while your pets visit us, so if there are any food allergies in your house (pets or people) please let us know!
We are so excited to see the success stories of pets that hated to go to the vets or were not able to be examined or touched at other veterinary hospitals. We will slowly be making changes to help improve you and your pets vet visit and experience. Thank you for caring about your pet’s well-being and wanting to help decrease their fear, anxiety and stress levels! I know as a doberwoman who is afraid of heights, I appreciate it that the staff will let me hang out on the floor for my exam! -Kyra