“Dedicated to providing gentle, compassionate care for companion animals”

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Low Stress Handling and Fear Free Veterinary Visits

Animal Wellness Center is devoted to the physical and psychological welfare of every patient.  Our goal is to recognize fear and anxiety in our patients and adjust our approach to meet them at their level of need.  Ideally we are able to start a plan early on, before fear becomes an engrained emotional response.  If your pet has already developed a fear of the veterinary office, we can help!  Using low stress techniques, implementing a behavior modification program, using a gentle sedative or trying a combination of approaches will help to make your pet’s visit to the veterinarian less stressful.

We will handle all patients gently and in a way that reassures them we are on their side.  We meet their needs for mental and physical comfort and are ready to adjust our handling and treatments to help every animal through their visits with as much comfort and ease as possible.   

Our staff is in the process of becoming Low Stress Certified.  This program was developed by Dr. Sophia Yin.  Dr. Yin was a Veterinarian, Animal Behaviorist, author and an expert on low stress handling.  She has been a leader and advocate for educating the animal health community on how to handle animals with the least amount of stress possible.  Her philosophy is to “lead like a leader in a dance and to be able to understand and use body language to help communicate clearly.  Reward desirable behaviors and remove rewards for undesirable behaviors.”  For more information on Dr. Yin, please visit her website at drsophiayin.com.  Additionally, Dr. Carolyn Apker has been sitting on the Advisory Board for the Fear Free Practice Movement for over two years. She has been actively working with a team of Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorists and is a committee chair for the American Veterinary Animal Behavior Society.

A Fear Free veterinary practice involves incorporating Dr. Yin’s philosophy of low stress handling and applying it to the veterinary visit. By constantly monitoring the pet’s level of physical and psychological stress throughout their visit we’re able to use various techniques that lessen their fear and improve their overall experience.   Using low stress techniques in combination with something that the animal finds rewarding like a food treat, or possibly using a gentle anti-anxiety medication to help them feel more relaxed help us achieve this goal.   Being afraid is not ok, and the use of physical force and coercion are not ok.  It is a well documented fact that calm and comfortable patients (dog, cat and human) recover more quickly and completely than their nervous counterparts. 

We are proud to be a practice that holds ourselves to a higher standard and have been a leader in practicing low stress techniques for a several years.  We are always trying to improve techniques and approaches in order to give your best friends the best medical care possible with the least amount of stress possible.