Behavioural medicine as an integral part of veterinary practice

image of Behavioural medicine as an integral part of veterinary practice
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To enhance the welfare of both the client and their pet, it is impossible to ignore the emotional and behavioural aspects of the human-animal bond and focus on purely physiological illness and disease. Not only may behavioural clinical signs be indications of underlying physical disease, but problem behaviour and associated stress can frequently result in physical malaise and illness. This chapter covers the behaviourally sensitive practice, the practice of behavioural medicine on a daily basis, incorporating behaviour into the practice. A poster of Kendal Shepherd’s canine ‘Ladder of Aggression’ is available.

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2.1 Non-slip washable mats for dogs to sit or lie on can be supplied, or the owners may bring in their own mat.
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2.2 Hydraulic lift-table.
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2.3 Appropriate hospital kennelling can be helpful in reducing stress. Glass doors are useful to cut out noise. A combination of glass and caging allows calm dogs to be rewarded with treats. Setting kennels at an angle avoids animals facing each other directly.
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2.4 Igloo bed providing warmth and privacy at a height.
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2.5 The canine ‘Ladder of Aggression’: how a dog reacts to stress or threat. (© Copyright Maggy Howard and Kendal Shepherd)
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2.6 Food can be used as a lure to teach a puppy to sit on the examination table.
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2.7 Use of conditioned emotional responses to environmental information, including obedience commands.
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2.8 Commands that assist veterinary handling and examination: ‘sit’; ‘stand’; ‘down’; and ‘roll over’.
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2.9 Teaching a cat to ‘high five’. (Courtesy of D. Mills.)
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2.10 Involving the owner. Holding a dog for intranasal vaccination. The owner in ‘training mode’.
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2.11 The Halti headcollar allows panting. The Halti headcollar also allows head control and closing of the mouth if necessary.
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2.14 Behaviour products offered for sale may require specialist guidance.
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