Turning Around First-Visit Blues
Yesterday, we had a new client come in for a vaccine appointment for her new blue merle Corgi puppy, which she had picked up the previous day. In the lobby, the pup was quiet and at first glance appeared to be coping well, but once in the exam room, I noticed she was scared and only wanted to stay between mom’s legs. We needed to vaccinate her so she could attend the puppy kindergarten class our behaviorist runs. We were able to get an oral bordetella vaccine in her, luring with baby food. When we attempted to poke with the needle for the other vaccination, though, she cried. We tried to warm her up to us so we would be able to get the vaccination in her. She escalated in the room and turned and growled. We then decided to abort mission. We did not want to ruin her experience at the veterinarian, especially since this was her first time here and she was a baby. We prescribed gabapentin and planned to have her come in the next day, early in the morning, to give her a better experience. Luckily, mom and dad were 100 percent on board with this. They came in the next morning and our front desk staff directed them to a room right away. When we walked in with the vaccine, she was asleep on the table. Dad said she was very sleepy. I grabbed a cup of Braunschweiger and fed her a small piece of it. She eagerly ate it but didn’t move her body. We desensitized and performed gradient of touch and she was fully distracted by the yummy treats. We gave her the vaccine and she never stopped eating and did not even notice the poke. We were thrilled!! Yay for pre-visit medications!
Maria Marano, The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center Community Practice, Columbus, Ohio