Taking a pet to the veterinarian creates anxiety for both pets and owners. The sterile, cold rooms and exposure to caged, sick animals does not convey the same warm and fuzzy feeling most veterinary offices portray in their waiting room with the adorable pictures of kittens and puppies running through fields and flowers. Fear and anxiety is the number one contributor to the decline of visits to veterinary offices over the years. If only we could try something different.

Veterinary House Calls, in Franklin MA, has been leading the charge for creating a fear free pet health care culture since 1991. Dr. Paula Ruel, a practicing DVM and Registered Nurse Practitioner, discovered that traveling to a pet’s home to provide complete healthcare significantly reduced stress and anxiety for both pets and their owners. The concept is slowly starting to catch on amongst health providers in the industry.

Dr. Johnathan Bloom, DVM at Willowdale Animal Hospital in Toronto, has implemented many of the techniques Dr. Ruel has used for decades to minimize stress for animals and their owners. His efforts were recently shared in the August 2015 dvm360 Magazine in the Fear Free Leadership Challenge.

“Fear and anxiety are nosocomial infections, and they are zoonotic. We created this problem. Patients acquired it at our hospital and it was spread by other pets and staff, then the owners catch it,” Dr. Bloom told dvm Magazine. Dr.s Ruel and Bloom agree that conventional treatment in traditional veterinary practices create mental health issues for patients and owners. However, Dr. Bloom offers suggestions for typical veterinary offices that Dr. Ruel is able to supply in a pet’s home.

  • Creating a fear free culture by not mixing dogs and cats and minimizing wait time for appointments.
  • Less restraints by using treats and massage throughout a visit.
  • Use non invasive medical techniques, anti-anxiety medication, and effective supplements.

Dr. Bloom suggests having the appointment begin at home by not feeding a pet before traveling so a pet will respond to treats in the office. He also suggests trying to make transfer to the office fun by placing toys and pheromones in the carrier.

While it is encouraging to see fear free pet health care beginning to take hold amongst providers, Dr. Ruel suggests alleviating this stress entirely by having the vet come to you. In-home veterinary care requires zero deprivation or transportation for your pet, making it a complete fear free experience.

“My vision is to ensure patients live a long and healthy life as is humainly as possible. By examining your pet in their own environment, I am able to obtain a more thorough evaluation of any existing or potential problems or diseases without creating stress that would only aggravate an existing issue,” said Dr. Ruel.

For more information about the dvm Leadership Challenge or about Dr. Bloom’s initiatives, visit dvm360.com. For more information about Dr. Ruel’s complete in-home veterinary services, visit vethousecalls.us.