Bob's Battle With Anxiety
Wining, panting, stiffness, and agitation... Are these symptoms you've noticed in your pet when arriving at the vet's? This was certainly the case for our November star pet of the month Bob, a 5-year-old Jack Russel, and Chihuahua cross. This blog looks into Bob's battle with anxiety in his most recent visit to us and how we were able to help.
Bob was rescued by our nurse Emma at 7 months old when he was signed over to her previous veterinary practice, due to not being cared for properly. He is notorious for loving people he knows and loves nothing more than to snuggle under blankets and get tummy rubs. However, this quickly changes when Bob is introduced to new people and dogs. Unfortunately, Bob struggles with anxiety and displays this through aggression such as barking or snapping. Because of this Bob, like many pets, struggles to visit the vets.
Back in 2018, Bob was diagnosed with 'Luxating Patella', a condition where the patella, or kneecap, dislocates or moves out of its normal location, which Bob had surgery for.
Unfortunately, last year, Emma noticed he was hopping again on the leg he had surgery on. After more radiographs, we were able to see that there was irritation around one of the pins placed in his knee. Due to this, it was decided, the best treatment option would be to remove the pin in surgery.
As Bob is anxious about the vets, Emma decided it was best to occasionally bring him into the practice to help him get used to the environment and people. Bob was also prescribed Gabapentin and Trazadone (anti-anxiety medications) after a health check to be given the night before and the morning of a vet visit. These helped take the edge off Bob's anxiety and helped promote a more well-balanced emotional state whilst at the practice. Emma also provided a bed in the kennel area, out of his kennel, so he could be nearer to her and the other nurses to help him stay calm and not feel as enclosed.
When the day of Bob's surgery came around, the visiting orthopaedic vet was made him aware of Bob's anxiety. Because of this prior knowledge, a plan was put in place to help accommodate Bob's anxiety. Bob was able to have as much choice and control over the situation as possible.
Luckily Bob's surgery was successful and in recovery, Bob was able to sit with the nursing staff as we were aware he would get worried about being in a kennel. Having everyone aware of Bob's triggers, and reactions in these situations meant the surgery and aftercare went straightforward and stress-free.
Bob is a good example of many dogs who suffer anxiety triggered by uncertain environments and situations and new people. If you are unsure whether your dog has anxiety, we suggest looking out for the four F's:
Fidget (panting, hyperactivity, and frantic behaviour)
Flight (attempting to run away)
Freeze (immobility, stillness, stiffness)
Fight (snarling, barking and biting).
If your dog is anxious, don't worry! Just like for Bob, at Roundwood, we put everything possible in place to try and accommodate our patients' stay so they are as positive as possible.
We often recommend anti-anxiety medication for animals like Bob. Anti-anxiety medications can help make your pets visit to us more positive, and enables us to provide the treatment needed in a less emotionally upsetting situation.
At Roundwood, we also offer socialisation sessions with nurses, which we highly recommend. We find that getting our patients to visit us for a socialisation visit helps them get used to the smell, noises, and people at the vets and can help them become less anxious by visits.
We are very passionate about helping our patients have a positive and fear-free stay. We as a team are working towards this and how we can do even better.
To get more information regarding our available anti-anxiety prescriptions and nurse socialisation sessions, contact the practice on 020 8459 4729.