Handling dogs and cats


This is a core practical skill. Online activity can only assist you and you will need to acquire this experience throughout your course and indeed your career beyond this. That having been said there are a number of online resources that will help you and speed up your learning when you do get the opportunity to handle a live animal.

Information sources

The number one written resource is Chapter 11 Animal handling, restraint and transport from the new BSAVA Textbook for Veterinary Nurses – written for veterinary nurses but an excellent source of information for veterinary students as well.

A series of videos on dog handling are provided by Glasgow vet school and are available via YouTube – each is less than 2 minutes long:

Dog handling: introduction

Dog handling: small dogs

Dog handling: medium dogs

Dog handling: large dogs

A number of videos on cat handling are also available from atdove.org on YouTube, of which this one is the most important:

How to handle a fractious cat – good example of the use of a cat muzzle

Suggested work

(1) Read the chapter and watch the videos.

(2) If you are nervous of one species (e.g. rats) then it helps to use a stuffed toy first and practice by yourself. Be honest with yourself – it is ok not to love all animals, but you have to be professional when presented with them. Being able to handle them is a great start.

(3) Write a table for yourself about which species you feel able to try to handle, to be confident to handle, feel able to teach others how to handle. Identify which areas you need to develop in the coming years.

(4) Look at this video and consider how else the situation could have been handled.

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