August 31, 2023
Our team members are always looking to continue their education in order to provide quality care to their patients. Many choose to become Fear Free certified not only for the wellbeing of pets, but also for the positive impact it has on their team and themselves. Being certified allows our hospitals to:
- Reduce or remove anxiety triggers that can cause pets to become fearful at home, in transport, and at the veterinary hospital
- Help owners deliver calm pets to the hospital
- Enhance the quality of medicine in the practice
- Increase compliance
- Improve safety for the veterinary team
We have over 80 hospitals practicing Fear Free methods. Some hospitals, such as Coco Park Animal Hospital, have multiple staff members who are certified. Hospital manager, Jes, has been certified for 10 years and has encouraged others to join her, “After years of watching animals be called "mean" or "aggressive" while forcing a muzzle causing stressful visits and veterinary PTSD, I knew I had to try something else. About 10 years ago I started on a completely Fear Free journey and it has increased compliancy among pet parents because patients are happier, efficiency in time management has increased 10 fold (stressful patients inadvertently take more time), and I get to stop the misuse of labels such as "aggressive" "mean" or "reactive". Most animals are just scared and need our patience, time, and compassion—and when those fail, medicine is there to help facilitate.”
Dr. Saporito recently became Fear Free certified, "I didnt believe my hospital manager, Jes, when she said muzzles weren't needed. We haven't muzzled a dog in over 4 months since completely revamping our methods. I have incorporated a lot of aspects into my everyday practice, very easily."
We have many other hospitals that use calming strategies to reduce stress and fear in their patients, such as Inwood Animal Center. They have one team member who is Fear Free Level 3 certified, but they all take measures to help the pets tolerate (and even enjoy!) their visits and provide a safe environment for the team. Hospital Manager Jennifer explains, “We all do our best to provide a Fear Free environment to our patients at Inwood Animal Center. We have a feline only exam room to keep all the doggy smell away from our feline patients. In our exam room we have soft background music playing and feliway plug-ins to help with the pheromones. We offer medications to calm the pets for the owner to give prior to the visit to make it less stressful for them if needed. We have many different treats to offer as a distraction so all visits can be as pleasant as possible. I feel that not only is Fear Free valuable for the pets, it's much safer for the staff, which then we have less work related injuries. So it's a win-win all the way around.”
Our team members continue to grow to meet the needs of their patients and Fear Free is one way to introduce them to a less stressful environment. If you are a Vetcor employee, reach out to your hospital manager to find out more.