By Trent Eddy, DVM, Guest to Fear Free
All too often, as veterinarians, we are pushed to see more patients. Get’em in and get’em out! We find ourselves fatigued, both mentally and physically, and it is very easy to just “get the job done.” I am embarrassed to say that I have been guilty of rushing through exams, treatments, and handling, despite my patient’s protests, just to “get the job done.”. This is not how I want to practice.
Early on in my career, I began searching for ways to give my patients and clients a better experience. This started simply with giving treats during exams, distractions during vaccines, and better handling. I was surprised that these simple and small changes really made a difference.
My business partner, Dr. Blake Dickerson, and I had frequent discussions about how we would want to practice and how we would model our start-up. After attending a Fear Free seminar, we knew we had found what we were looking for and we were very excited! This is how we want to practice.
Fear Free has been great from both a professional and a business standpoint. Professionally, practicing has just been more enjoyable. We take our time with each patient and client, we get to watch how patients respond to Fear Free and see the clients light up as well. Patients who might have been a handful before are now easily handled with just baseline Fear Free techniques, pre-visit pharmaceuticals, or sedation. There is no more muzzling, anal glands everywhere, and hoping nobody gets bitten. I also believe our support staff is happier as well.
From a business standpoint, Fear Free has given us a platform to shout our message to the public. Come experience the difference! Our clientele has improved, they want a better experience for their furry family members. We sell more pre-visit pharmaceuticals, we sedate more patients, we take more radiographs, and because our clientele has improved and believe in our approach, they will typically follow recommendations for vaccines, treatments, bloodwork, and preventives.
Fear Free has been a fun journey, and we are still far from where I want to be. I look forward to trying new ideas, learning new techniques, and making veterinary visits more fun. Our patients deserve it!
Dr. Eddy is a practitioner and co-owner at Iron Horse Veterinary Care in Leawood, KS.