Last year ten members of our staff completed the first level of certification of the Fear Free program developed by Dr. Marty Becker. The goal of the Fear Free program is to provide the best care for our patients by limiting fear, anxiety and stress as much as possible during a veterinary visit.. This year we have decided to continue onto the second level of certification. The second level of certification provides more in-depth education in the areas of patient handling, advanced handling techniques, and in-hospital care. In addition to step by step procedures, the modules feature numerous videos detailing procedures, handling techniques and client communication examples. Each member who is completing the second level certification views the module and completes a quiz at the end. We then meet monthly to discuss what we learned and how to best utilize the information in our daily practice.
Our staff feels it is important to continue learning how to recognize fear, anxiety and stress (FAS) in your pets and the best methods to minimize these as much as possible. Our goal at Oakview Veterinary Medical Center is to make your, and your pet’s, visit to our clinic as stress free and enjoyable as possible. This helps us do our jobs better by allowing us to deliver high quality care as we look after the physical and emotional well-being of our patients. We then can practice better medicine because we can get more accurate vital signs and diagnoses, thus providing the best treatment options.
When your pet is relaxed and eating delicious treats during their visit at the clinic it is easier for our veterinarians to complete a thorough physical exam. This is as important during a wellness exam as it is when your pet is sick. Because our patients can’t tell us what is wrong, or where it hurts, we must rely on our pet owner’s observations and the physical exam to tell us where to look or what tests to run. Often during a wellness visit we find new lumps or dental disease that owners were not aware of. If a pet is stressed and it is difficult to complete the exam, then we may not find these important issues.
We have patients that love coming to our clinic, gladly take treats and allow a comprehensive physical exam. But we also have patients that are nervous, stressed or fearful. One way we can decrease the anxiety associated with a trip to the veterinary clinic is through “happy visits.” Happy visits are just that, a visit to the clinic that is a pleasant experience. This month we will detail what happy visits entail and give some examples of how they may help your pet feel less anxious about a veterinary clinic visit.
For more information about how we currently implement fear free at Oakview, please visit our website.
by Lisa Karnitz, DVM
Dr. Karnitz graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 2004. She has been in practice ever since. She was also the resident veterinarian at the Globe University for two years.
Dr. Karnitz has a special interest in dentistry and internal medicine.
She shares her home with her husband, two children, and a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel named Harry.