Truro Veterinary Hospital is proud to have four staff Members who have completed the Low Stress Handling Certification (Ashley, Cara, Kaila and Val). They have been passing their new-found knowledge on to other staff members which allows us to make every patient’s visit as pleasant and stress-free as possible.
What is Low Stress Handling?
Low Stress Handling is a collection of handling techniques designed to minimize patient stress and maximize veterinary efficiency. Based in behavioral science, these techniques help calm anxious patients, making the entire treatment process easier and safer for the animals and people involved. Our staff has spent a lot of time learning Dr. Yin’s methods for reducing stress in animals. They know how to hold a leash, how to offer treats, how to counter-condition animals to having medical treatments, and the perfect way to do a medical wrap.
What does this certification mean for me and my pet?
Simple: A more pleasant experience at the vet’s office and a happier pet. It also means that they use methods that can reduce the need for sedation, reducing risk and pet health costs. It means you can trust that person to treat your pet like you’d want them to be treated. With skill, professionalism, and care.
All of our staff are equipped with the knowledge that allows us to handle your pet with skills to approach, hold, and maneuver your pet in a way that is calming and natural for him or her. If your pet often gets anxious in the exam room, these techniques will help make your pet feel more comfortable with the many components of a physical exam, helping the exam run smoothly and quickly.
Our staff are trained to:
- Recognize the overt and subtle signs of fear and anxiety in dogs and cats and identify the common mistakes people make when approaching and greeting pets that make the animals more fearful or aggressive. They have learnt to approach and handle pets in a relaxed, non-threatening manner.
- Learnt how the sights, sounds, smells, and surfaces in your practice may be increasing the stress in our patients. Discoverd ways to create a calmer, safer, and more secure environment.
- Learnt 5 methods for controlling the rear end and 7 for controlling the front end in dogs. Able to determine which directions of movement (forward, back, right, left, up and down) each hold controls. Evaluate which restraint hold is best for a given dog and procedure.
- Understand how every interaction – how we approach, pick animals up, move them from place to place, or restrain them – affects the animal’s perception of us and their willingness to cooperate. Learnt how to position our body and adjust our movement to provide the direction and guidance the animal needs.
We hope that our Certification in Low Stress Handling will make trips to the veterinarian a much more pleasant experience for you and your pet moving forward.
Ways we have implemented the Low Stress Handling in our Hospital?
There are a variety of changes we have made in order to provide as low stress as possible to our patients. Some of these include:
- Feline Friday – Every Friday from 8am-10am we offer Feline Only Appointments. This means no dogs on those mornings for our feline patients that aren’t accustomed to dogs in their life. Please Note: There might be an emergency where dogs might be present but we try out best to keep it all feline clients.
- Cat Corner – If you have been into the clinic recently you may have noticed that we have a special corner dedicated for our feline clients, it has a partial dividing wall, to block view of possible canine clients, a shelf near a window that has a bird feeder as well as some toys to help entertain your kitties while they wait. We also have kennel covers if your cat gets stressed by other cats.
- Cat Nip – We may catnip to entice your cat and help ameliorate his fear. Given in the exam rooms as it can have a calming, soothing effect, and help reduce a cat’s stress level.
- Tasty Treats – We have a variety of tasty treats (canned food, liver treats, liver paste, cheese whiz to name a few) to offer our feline and canine clients in a variety of easy to dispense methods. By offering treats while we give patients shots and trim their nails the results are less stress and less aggression from our patients.
- Puppy Parties – Did you know that socialization is one of the most important things you can do for your puppy? It is also the first step in raising a well-behaved dog. Proper socialization involves exposing puppies to as many new people, animals, stimuli and environments as possible during this time. It should be done safely and without causing overstimulation manifested as excessive fear, withdrawal or avoidance behavior. We offer this service for FREE Thursday nights.
- Relocate Pets – If a patient seems more anxious or stressed in the waiting room then we move them into an available exam room where they can relax with their owner before their appointments starts.
- Feliway Spray – It helps comfort and reassure cats by mimicking the natural facial pheromone that happy cats use to mark their territory as safe and familiar. It is clinically proven to help reduce stress that leads to unwanted behaviours.
- Adaptil Spray – It mimics this natural appeasing pheromone to help dogs of all ages feel safe and secure when they encounter new or challenging situations. It is clinically proven to help increase focus during training and reduce stress that leads to unwanted behaviours.
- Minimal Movement – We try to do any procedure that we can in the exam room if we can so we don’t have to move the pet to another environment and causing more undue stress adjusting.
- Early Discharge – If we have patients that are stressed being in clinic after a procedure (such as routine surgeries like spays or neuters) then we will send them home as long as they aren’t painful or need extra monitoring.