Routine visit or alien abduction?! Vets now embracing fear free practices.
Imagine this scenario:
You are resting quietly in bed when your best friend suddenly wakes you up and tries to stuff you in a box!
You instinctively run but after a mad chase all around the house, they finally catch and no matter how much you complain, you find yourself stuffed into a nasty little box.
Despite your struggle, they put you in the back seat of a car and speed wildly causing your box to tumble upside down!
You think your nightmare ends when the car stops but then your box enters a smelly place with bright lights and the loud sounds of other terrified patients: yelling, crying, hissing, barking.
Your “friend” then puts you on a cold shiny metal table and acts really weird repeatedly saying “it’s OK buddy” over and over while an alien restrains, inspects, probes, and then stabs you multiple times with a needle!
For some pets the alien abduction story ends here but for others, it about to get worse!
Your “friend” now gives you a pet and says goodbye. “What?!? Don’t leave me here,” you think as the aliens move you to a metal cage with many other scared pets. Before you know it, the aliens stab you again. This time you start to lose consciousness but before you pass out, you struggle and cry out for someone, anyone, to save you.
When you wake up, you feel nauseated with a dull pain between your hind legs. Oh no! You have been further violated and through animal intuition, you know you are missing important body parts!
After what seems like forever, your “friend” comes back to get you, puts you in a box, drives you home and annoyingly keeps saying “you’re OK” when you clearly are not.
Over the next days, weeks and months, your “friend” seems to have forgotten the whole ordeal but you know you will NEVER trust the evil box or your “friend” again!
PTSD in pets can be reduced at clinics that practice fear free
This little story is to remind pet owners that brain chemistry is forever changed into severe PTSD when your furry friends are faced with a trigger that reminds them of a traumatic event and scenarios like the above story play out every day all over the world.
It doesn’t have to be this way however. The veterinary profession is now embracing fear free handling so look for or ask your clinic about the Fear Free Certification. Another good program to look for is Cat Friendly Practice initiative which helps give a voice for the kitties. We are working hard to make your pet’s trip to the doctor more like a routine visit and less like an alien abduction!
Dr. Lauren Smith is a veterinarian at Hart Road Animal Hospital located at 16400 SW Hart Rd, Beaverton. Contact her at 503-591-5282 or visit www.hartroadanimalhospital.com