Recently, Jessica one of our Veterinary Assistants took a four month course on how to make our clinic a fear free clinic. We are so glad she took this course because not only are we helping our patients, but we are also helping our patient's parents who also get worked up when they come to see us.
What is fear free? Fear free is when we make every effort to reduce any fear, anxiety and stress related to examinations and procedures.
Why is it important to be a fear free clinic? It is important because it addresses the emotional welfare of the veterinary health care team, the patients treated and the people who love them. It also reduces patient's fear, anxiety and stress. It creates a more manageable, cooperative patient and a safer more efficient work environment.
How does a clinic become fear free? To become a fear free clinic, one staff member has to complete the four month course. Once completed, the clinic is certified for three years, after that time, more training is needed.
Since Jessica has completed the course she has been implementing ways to make it easier for those patients who get worked up coming to see us. She has empowered our team to relieve the fear, anxiety and stress of our patients every time they come through our doors regardless of the reason why that patient is seeing us that day.
What are the core values of fear free?
Since becoming a fear free clinic we have had many successful patients come in. One case that sticks out to us, Sophia* first presented in August 2016 at her first puppy exam. She was very nervous around people. She would growl, lunge and bark at everyone in the exam room. She would only allow her mom to place a muzzle on her.
In October 2016 she came back in for a nail trim. A muzzle was placed by her mom. Sophia got very scared and urinated and defecated all over the exam room. At that time it was recommended no further nail trims because she was too fearful.
In March 2018 Sophia came in for her yearly exam and vaccines. With Gabapentin on board, Dr. Jami was able to do an exam. A muzzle was placed by Jessica, before we were not able to do that. Sophia was then given peanut butter on a pretzel stick to keep her mind off the exam. There was no lunging, barking or growling. We were also able to do blood work with little restraint. She was a very happy girl and was wagging her tail. After her exam and the muzzle was taken off, Sophia came up to us and wanted to be petted by everyone.
*Names have been changed
We are happy to be a fear free clinic! Behavior is medicine, fear free is better medicine.