Fear Factor

September 3, 2014

I was reading this month’s DVM360 magazine’s article on the need for veterinarians to prioritize the emotional wellbeing of their patients, and it said some things about stress in pets that took me aback. Frankly, I was really surprised by both the content and tone of the article and here’s why.

Dogs and cats have always been part of my life. Granted I don’t remember going to the veterinarian’s office with my pets when I was a child (it was a long time ago), but I’ve shared my adult life with dogs and cats for the last 25 years or so and have made numerous trips to many veterinarians. During all of these visits I thought both the staff and the doctors went out of their way to keep my pets as stress free as possible. Granted there are plenty of design changes to lobby layout that could have facilitated even more stress reduction – but in San Francisco space is always a premium and you do what you can.  So I was shocked when DVM360 presented the case that some veterinarians have thought and operated as if fear was simply part of providing quality medical care.

These veterinarians think that an animal being stressed and afraid of them is simply the cost of treatment. It’s as if stressing an animal out assists in treatment and healing – I know my body does much worse when I’m scared and stressed. How could these veterinarians really have thought this and where were the veterinarian schools in teaching this approach to care?  Why is the idea of distressing and calming pets as part of treatment so revolutionary?

At Pet Camp we think that a happy pet is a healthy pet. We, like all reputable animal care facilities, strive to create safe, healthy and fun environments and understand that a stressed or fearful pet is more likely to actually suffer health consequences. That’s the reason we invest in huge play areas, swimming pools and greenhouses for cats to play in. What do you think of veterinarians finally catching up to those of us who scoop poop for a living or is it that after all of these years in San Francisco I have finally gotten touchy-feely?

Thanks for reading!

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