Fear-reducing strategies for small animal practice, Part 2 - Techniques for interventions, prevention and use of anxiolytic medication [Strategien zur Angstreduktion in der Kleintierpraxis, Teil 2 - Maßnahmen zur Therapie, Prävention und Einsatz anxiolytischer Medikamente].
This article describes measures for treating and preventing fear in dogs and cats at the vets, including desensitisation and counterconditioning, happy visits to create positive associations with the practice and veterinary staff, and cooperative care training, in which the animals learn to give consent to handling and veterinary procedures by performing a previously trained operant behaviour. Anxiolytic medication administered by the owner prior to the veterinary visit can prevent further negative experiences and facilitate forming of new positive associations. Ideally, fear in dogs and cats at the veterinary practice can be prevented by the use of stress-reducing handling methods and the creation of positive associations, with a puppy's or kitten's impression at its first visit being especially important. Furthermore, preparatory training (acceptance of handling, carrier and muzzle training) plays an important role in facilitating a fear-free veterinary visit.