Our Behavior Service is available for all species including dogs, cats, horses and exotic animals. The Behavior Service will provide assistance to clients with behaviorally-challenged pets and offer support for those looking to train pets and instill good habits.
Veterinarians can contact the hospital to refer patients to the behavior service. We look forward to working together to provide optimal care for both pets and livestock!
A veterinarian with training in behavior is the best professional to help pets with behavior disorders. Behavior disorders are the number one cause of euthanasia in dogs and the main cause of relinquishment to shelters.
The most common disorders we see are the ones manifested with aggression. Aggression can be caused by many medical conditions such as pain and endocrine imbalances, but anxiety related disorders can also be manifested with aggressive behaviors.
Behavior medicine is not a new modality in veterinary medicine, but it is underutilized by many pet owners mainly due to lack of trained professionals in this field, or pet owners not even being aware that their pets need behavior help, or that there is help at all.
Early identification of these problems in pets is crucial for faster results. Safety of the people and animals is the number one priority in what we do. Behavior medicine reconciles the human-animal bond.
What to Expect
A behavior appointment is a thorough assessment of the pet’s behavior and environment. When needed, a physical examination and blood work are also done so the veterinarian can pinpoint the exact triggers or medical conditions associated with or causing the behavior changes. The first appointment is approximately two hours with a follow-up appointment in six to eight weeks to refine the protocol. Clients go home with a detailed protocol, resources and video tutorials on how to do the behavior modification at home and are coached by the clinician through the entire process.
There is no quick fix in behavior, and no “one size fits all” protocol. The treatment plan is tailored around the individual’s specific needs.
Creating a Plan
Once we have the diagnosis, a comprehensive protocol is put in place by the veterinarian, and it includes:
- Behavior modification - the owner will work with the pet on counter-conditioning undesired behaviors and desensitization to aversive stimuli
- Pharmacological intervention - some medications are necessary to fix hormonal imbalances in the brain
- Nutrition - pets will be prescribed a behavior diet
- Environmental management - our goal is to make the pet’s environment more promoting of good behaviors and safe for owners in order to avoid bites
The End Result
There is no cure for most behavior disorders, but they can be successfully managed when all components of a protocol are in place. Once a pet has been treated and is managed, living with an anxious pet becomes much easier and safer. The ultimate goal is to make pets and people safe and happy and the owners’ lives more enjoyable when living with behaviorally challenged pets.