Feburary 2024 newsletter

This Month's Featured Article

Fear Free Veterinary Clinic

You may have heard the words “Fear-free Veterinary Clinic” but what does that really mean?

In a nutshell, being “fear-free” is all about providing health and wellness care to our patients while considering their emotional well-being.

At Gawler Animal Hospital, we feel it is important that we treat our patients with kindness and respect. We consider ways we can keep their stress-related emotions at a lower level to enable us to care for them in a non-threatening, calming environment. This not only improves the veterinary experience for both patients and owner, but also keeps our staff safe.

Animals can show fear, anxiety and stress in many ways. The more obvious, high-level signs are avoidance (flight), aggression (fight), not moving at all (freeze) or for some animals, overexcitement (hyper-arousal).

Even more importantly, is to focus and notice the more subtle body language signs of discomfort or stress and then taking action before emotions become too heightened. We can do this by following the fear, anxiety & stress (FAS) scoring guidelines.

We also want to be pro-active with our approach so we can reduce stress as best as possible. This played a big part when we designed our Hospital with regard to colours, surfaces, noise reduction and species-specific waiting areas, consult rooms and hospital wards.

As a Veterinary clinic, we are constantly educating and implementing new things to help improve the fear-free experience;

  • Calming music in our hospital wards
  • Garden consults to give a less clinical environment
  • Special treats and ‘licki mats’ for a more positive experience
  • Sniffy logs or scented gardens to allow your dog to go on a ‘Sniffari’ on arrival.
  • Climbing cat towers in our cat rooms for exploring and getting up high.

For the above reasons, sometimes we might ask you to give prescribed anti-anxiety medications at home before arriving at the Veterinary clinic, we may move you straight into a consult room on arrival or in our surgery cases we may ask you to stay with your pet to reduce their stress levels until pre-medications have taken effect.

We know it can be tricky if we have to plan ahead, take more time, or reschedule procedures if your pet isn’t coping. However, we appreciate your understanding as we only have your pet’s emotional wellbeing in mind, which we know is AS IMPORTANT as their physical health.

We appreciate your understanding and partnering in helping us work with your pets in best possible way. We can certainly ensure you that we treat your pets as if we would our own and don’t recommend anything we wouldn’t do ourselves!

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Gawler Animal Hospital

Your full-service, high quality, locally-owned veterinary practice.

Offering a wide range of pet-care options from vaccinations up to complex medical and surgical treatments.

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