Sunvet Animal Wellness Clinic: Specialists in Low-stress Handling of Dogs and Cats

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What on earth is “Low-Stress Handling”?
This is a relatively recent buzzword in the veterinary community, and, even though the name is rather technical, I’m glad it’s becoming more well-known.

Dr. Laurel Davis, western NC’s natural vet, offers Stories from a Holistic Veterinarian, the blog of a holistic vet and “animal interpreter.” With a clinic in downtown Asheville, NC. Dr. Laurel also offers animal health, lifestyle and vaccination advice for cats, dogs and their human friends across the country.
Have a question for Dr. Laurel? Send it in.

Want comprehensive or detailed dog or cat advice? Schedule an Ask Dr. Laurel™ phone or Skype consultation.

Sunvet Animal Wellness Clinic: Specialists in Low-stress Handling of Dogs and Cats 

 

western NC natural vet
“Low-stress handling” signifies that the veterinary professionals to whom you entrust your animal friend are taking extra steps (and time) to be sure your furry friend is being cared for in extra special ways.

 

What on earth is “Low-Stress Handling”?

This is a relatively recent buzzword in the veterinary community, and, even though the name is rather technical, I’m glad it’s becoming more well-known.

To introduce this concept, I’ll ask you a question: How would you feel if your doctor ignored your feelings and concerns and just “did their procedures” to you without letting you know what was going on? You wouldn’t like that? Neither would I! And…neither does your dog or cat.

“Low-stress handling” signifies that the veterinary professionals to whom you entrust your animal friend are taking extra steps (and time) to be sure your furry friend is being cared for in extra special ways. For example, here at Sunvet Animal Wellness, we work hard to ensure that necessary procedures (physical exams, blood draws, nail trims, anal gland expressions, etc.) are less stressful for your furry pal.

At Sunvet, we say that each animal is an individual. This means that each dog or cat (and human, too!) who walks through the door is completely different than any other and should be treated as such. Likewise, every human and animal relationship is different. 

We humans (like our animal friends), are more sensitive to certain things than others. Sometimes, we have a fear of needles, so we look away when the nurse draws our blood. Maybe it grates our nerves to hear the sound the drill makes at the dentist, or it hurts when the nurse puts the blood pressure cuff on and pumps it really tightly. We all have sensitivities. These triggers can be different for everyone and should be honored. We’re western NC’s natural vet, so of course it is our job and pleasure to pay attention to each animal and determine what “triggers” them so that we can create a space where they feel as safe as possible.

When it comes to physically handling our fluffy friends we must be…

 

  • Calm (They are often more in-tune with and aware of our energies than we are!)
  • Quiet (This reduces stimuli and makes them feel more comforted.)  
  • Quick (…but concise in the way we touch them, always respecting their boundaries.)
  • Confident (They could sense it if we were unsure of ourselves, and that could cause them to doubt the “safe space” we are creating for them.)
  • Most importantly, we must be completely present with these treasured friends.

You love your animal-friend. Each time you or we successfully create a positive interaction with your dog or cat, it is a building block between human and animal. It’s an opportunity to build trust, one connection at a time. This goes far beyond just “making the animal feel better” about the way they’re treated at our veterinary clinic. It goes deeper than that.

Successfully creating a safe space results in a relaxed and trusting animal who is more likely to act naturally in the consulting setting, allowing me to observe her behaviors or even her reactions to the conversation. Often, I find that this safe space enables me to have a “dialog” with the dog or cat concerning her problems or dis-ease.


I find that a relaxed patient…

 

  • acts naturally, perhaps showing me obvious signs of unmentioned problems such as scooting (anal gland discomfort) or scratching ears (inflammation or infection in ears).
  • allows a more thorough hands-on physical exam, especially when it comes to pressing on their abdomen.

A relaxed, happy and trusting animal = a relaxed, happy and trusting human. No wonder why so many of our human clients love bringing their cat or dog to us!


A relaxed human…

 

  • is more likely to remember significant details related to why they brought Fido or Fluffy in.
  • is more likely to be open to (and to remember) my suggestions concerning diet change, supplements and other types of treatments.

While going to the doctor and having procedures done isn’t usually what we have on the top of our list as fun, we hope the atmosphere and energy we create at Sunvet conveys the heart of our work. For example, when we need to draw blood, we make an effort to be aware and present with our furry patients, explaining that we are looking to gain information and insight into their problems before we begin the process.

Since animals often pick up on energy or visualizations, we take a moment before performing an ear cleaning or abdominal palpation. We use that moment to see a picture in our mind’s eye of our low-stress technique. When we send them a mental/emotional picture while talking them through what will be taking place, they appreciate it. Might it create a sense in them of of understanding and accepting what will happen? We believe it does. Animals are aware, like human beings (who are also animals, don’t forget!). The way we engage with the dogs and cats who come through Sunvet’s door is very different. We don’t ignore their awareness and just treat them as objects to be manipulated.

From our perspective and experience, avoiding this step of creating rapport might lead the animal to feel man-handled. Their reaction might be alarm, fear and trauma about vet visits. We want to avoid that at all costs.

We are confident that the atmosphere and energy we create intentionally at Sunvet achieves what’s needed for your animal friend’s health. In addition, by treating them with kindness, we do our best to make sure we have a friend for life: a dog or cat who doesn’t mind their vet visits. Who knows, they might even look forward to coming in our door!

Shine On,

Dr. Laurel 

western NC natural vet

Dr. Laurel Davis is western NC’s natural vet, offering phone and Skype consultations for animal lovers everywhere. Call 828-254-2221 or order an Ask Dr. Laurel™ phone or Skype session or bring your dog or cat to her downtown Asheville, NC clinicRead more patient stories.

Get to know Dr. Laurel by reading her blog.

Do you have a story about Dr. Laurel’s dog advice or how she helped your dog or cat? Please leave it in the comments below or write a Google Review.

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