SPOKANE, Wash. – Local veterinarians are helping to alleviate pets' anxiety during vet visits.
Some staff members at Lincoln Heights Veterinary Clinic, including Melanie Bowden, are certified in “Fear Free Veterinary Medicine.”
“We provide anti-anxiety pheromones for dogs and cats specifically,” Bowden said. “We also do things like provide non-slip surfaces on top of counters, trying to work with them with treats and toys and things like that.”
Pets also listen to calming classical music, a practice borrowed from human medicine. Each cat room at the clinic is equipped with speakers.
“From a medical perspective, my exam is a lot more accurate because I'm able to do more during my exam with the animals, and the owner – I feel like – often feels like they are better heard because they are not stressed about what we're doing, so they are able to give me better information,” Bowden said.
Local feline resident Fiona is happy and friendly at home but abhors vet visits. Fiona’s owner, Jennifer Scheider, said her furry friend would growl, hiss and claw at her previous vets’ office. Now her visits at Lincoln Heights are different.
“"It's very even keel and stress-free and just they take their time, as much time that's needed. They have turned the vet visit around completely, for Fiona,” Scheider said.
Veterinary clinics across the nation are using the program to ease pets' fears. Only individuals can become certified in fear free medicine but Lincoln Heights hopes to certify its entire practice once the option is available.