A Review on Mitigating Fear and Aggression in Dogs and Cats in a Veterinary Setting

Riemer, Stefanie; Heritier, Carmen; Windschnurer, Ines; Pratsch, Lydia; Arhant, Christine; Affenzeller, Nadja (2021). A Review on Mitigating Fear and Aggression in Dogs and Cats in a Veterinary Setting. Animals, 11(1) MDPI 10.3390/ani11010158

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A high proportion of dogs and cats are fearful during veterinary visits, which in some cases may escalate into aggression. Here, we discuss factors that contribute to negative emotions in a veterinary setting and how these can be addressed. We briefly summarise the available evidence for the interventions discussed. The set-up of the waiting area (e.g., spatial dividers; elevated places for cat carriers), tailoring the examination and the treatment to the individual, considerate handling (minimal restraint when possible, avoiding leaning over or cornering animals) and offering high-value food or toys throughout the visit can promote security and, ideally, positive associations. Desensitisation and counterconditioning are highly recommended, both to prevent and address existing negative emotions. Short-term pain from injections can be minimised by using tactile and cognitive distractions and topical analgesics, which are also indicated for painful procedures such as ear cleanings. Recommendations for handling fearful animals to minimise aggressive responses are discussed. However, anxiolytics or sedation should be used whenever there is a risk of traumatising an animal or for safety reasons. Stress-reducing measures can decrease fear and stress in patients and consequently their owners, thus strengthening the relationship with the clients as well as increasing the professional satisfaction of veterinary staff.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute > Animal Welfare Division
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Riemer, Stefanie

Subjects:

500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)

ISSN:

2076-2615

Publisher:

MDPI

Language:

English

Submitter:

Lilian Karin Smith-Wirth

Date Deposited:

18 May 2021 11:58

Last Modified:

18 May 2021 11:58

Publisher DOI:

10.3390/ani11010158

PubMed ID:

33445559

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/156366

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/156366

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