Veterinarians Are the Best Resource for
Owners with Behavior Questions
Volume 2 Issue 4
continued from page 4 Clinics: On the
to bark, despite distractions, and she has proven to be true. “One of my dogs Cutting Edge
does tricks, such as playing dead and no longer thinks she is the boss and the
counting. Most dogs love to do what is other one has gained more confidence
Messages from the field
asked of them and be rewarded for it,
so [she] doesn’t bark at everything that
moves,” he said.
Veterinarian Provides Disabled
Atkinson hired Eric to address exces- When looking for help with behavior “In today’s day and
sive barking in individual sessions and problems, Gillaspy says that personality age there is so Students with Skills, Smiles
then realized that his dogs would bene- is important. “People should like their much that a veteri-
fit from an obedience class. “My wife trainer on a personal level. Trainers nary hospital can
urry patients give disabled students something
and I thought we knew enough to train without people skills won’t do. They offer its patients. to smile and learn about in Georgia, where an
our dogs — we did fine with house- should be able to explain things in a AAHA-accredited veterinary hospital part-
training and basic commands like sit way you can understand. Look for a ners with a vocational program that bene-
and shake. If we could do it all over trainer with lots of experience [and] cine is mirroring
fits everyone involved.
again, we would put our dogs in every always make sure your trainer has a human medicine in
Gayle M. Craig, A 15-year partnership between the Animal
class possible with Eric,” Atkinson said. well-trained dog. If they can’t train their the services it pro- Medical Center and a local high school special
Gillaspy explained that dogs respond own dogs they can’t train yours.” vides, and [as a education program gives students an opportu-
well to positive reinforcement of good Some veterinarians have received result] pets are living longer, and nity to work with pets and gain independent
behaviors and told Atkinson that by additional training in behavior, which living skills.
clients are more informed. Pet own-
engaging his dogs with new tricks, he enhances their ability to diagnose and Cathy Griffith, a teacher at Lakeview Fort
could avoid some of the attention-seek- treat behavior problems. There are about ers are extremely important in the
Oglethorpe High School’s special education
ing behaviors. 50 certified applied animal behaviorists preventive care and treatment of
program, schedules students to work several
In other words, if your dog is engaged in the United States but not all of them their pets… [They] should not be
and performing tricks, it is less likely to participate in one-on-one training with continued on page 3
afraid to take advantage of this new
exhibit the negative behaviors you clients, which is why dog trainers like technology. The results can be Dr. W. Britt Schaffeld at the Animal Medical
sought help for in the first place. Gillaspy play an important role in train-
astounding. That said, no matter Center is shown with a patient receiving extra
For the Atkinsons, that philosophy ing and behavior sessions.
how wonderful the facility, how inno- care from student Evan Franklin
vative and progressive the technolo-
Color Us In! gy, how experienced the staff, veteri-
nary hospitals… are here to serve the
Hey Kids! Fluffy and Fido are ready to play. needs of the client and patient. What You Don’t Know: Who Is Share Your Pet
A veterinary hospital should meet
your pet’s medical needs [as well as]
Monitoring Your Pet Under Anesthesia? Stories!
your emotional needs. You should The ability to trust your veterinari- “Things can happen even with Tell us how your pets matter to you!
feel a bond with the veterinary team ans is important, especially when seemingly healthy animals under This call goes out to readers of all ages.
pets need anesthesia, drugs that anesthesia,” said Elise Atkinson, a We hope to hear how dogs, cats, reptiles,
and sense that there is a bond
numb the senses so that pets do not certified veterinary technician and birds, and pocket pets have enhanced
between the veterinary staff mem- your lives, and the role your veterinary
feel pain during procedures. AAHA accreditation professional.
bers caring for your pet. I am lucky team has played in that relationship.
Anesthesia is necessary but it Using monitoring equipment and
to work in a facility that works hard can pose health risks, which is why having a dedicated person to check Email us with your pet stories at
to maintain strong, respectful inter- the American Animal Hospital patients regularly minimizes that PetsMatter@aahanet.org
personal working relationships, and Association (AAHA) requires risk, she added. for upcoming issues
accredited clinics to use monitoring Monitoring equipment tracks a of PetsMatter.
client relationships, while providing
equipment. pet’s vital signs – temperature, Email away!
a caring environment for pets…. Send your
pulse, heart rate, and blood pressure
Choose a hospital that is the right stories today!
– while he/she is under anesthesia
fit for you and your pet’s medical and alerts medical professionals to Read one
and emotional needs, and you can’t any changes in a patient’s condition. pet tale on
go wrong.” Pet vital signs are checked every page 7.
five minutes at Canobie Lake
– Gayle M. Craig, CVPM, practice manager Veterinary Hospital, an AAHA-
for Countryside Veterinary Hospital, an accredited practice in New
AAHA-accredited facility in Massachusetts. continued on page 7
2 PetsMatter 7
New Educational Campaign Educates Pet Owners AAHA Accreditation Matters: Not All Veterinary Clinics Provide Monitoring of Patients
About Their Dog’s Risk of Getting Cancer
continued from page 1
Did you know that one out of two dogs The canine cancer poster has a chart rates of cancer in dogs, Crawford started “If there is a problem, we want to catch it right away,”
will get cancer and one in four will die of dog breeds – from golden retrievers volunteering her time to help other pet Hampshire. “If there is a problem, we
from it? to chow chows – and the types of can- owners learn about the risks of cancer. want to catch it right away,” said – Danielle Caisse, licensed veterinary technician and practice manager
If not, you’re in good company. cer that are most common for each. She first learned about the cause from Danielle Caisse, a licensed veterinary
Surveys show that many – if not most – Collies are frequently diagnosed with her mother, who saw a cancer poster at technician and practice manager. encouraged clients to ask veterinary thesia monitoring equipment is manda-
pet owners do not know that cancer is nasal cancer, and skin cancer is com- AAHA-accredited Mandarin Veterinary Practice members create individual professionals how they safeguard pet tory, which provides clients with a
the number one natural cause of death in mon for pugs and shar-peis. Hospital in Florida. anesthesia plans for each pet, depending health during surgery. level of assurance that their pets are
dogs age two years and older. on age and the pet’s medical history. “Your veterinarian should be able to receiving the best care possible.
“Before the words, ‘Your dog has can- To receive and maintain accredita- answer questions about how your pet’s There are approximately 3,000 vet-
cer’ entered my life, I was blind to the tion, veterinary practices like Canobie vital signs will be monitored… and erinary clinics in North America that
magnitude of the number of dogs diag- Lake must use anesthesia-monitoring who will be responsible for monitoring have earned AAHA accreditation.
nosed, the suffering they endure, and equipment and have designated team your pet,” said Carpenter, a professor Accreditation shows clients that the
how many lose the battle,” said Kristen members monitor the machines. of anesthesia and pain management at clinic or hospital has met high stan-
Crawford, a pet owner. That level of attention to each the University of Illinois College of dards of excellence set by experienced
To educate pet owners like Crawford, patient may, at times, raise surgery Veterinary Medicine. She advises veterinary professionals.
the Morris Animal Foundation launched prices but it helps protect lives, clients to ask about the level of care Trusting your veterinary team is eas-
a Canine Cancer Campaign. The organi- explained Rachel Carpenter, DVM, pets receive at clinics because not all ier to do when you know the clinic is
zation produced a poster, which hangs in who was recently quoted in an article veterinary clinics provide the same accredited. That plaque is a fast way of
veterinary clinics across the country, to about the importance of anesthesia and quality of medicine. At AAHA-accred- identifying quality practices that are
prompt candid discussions between pet the use of monitoring equipment. She ited clinics, however, the use of anes- conducted behind the scenes.
owners and veterinary professionals
about the disease.
Pets Are “Protectors, Confidants,
Companions: How Pets Matter to You
A pets owner’s story
“My husband and I are blessed to be guardians of two cats (a brother and sister)
“Before the words, ‘Your dog has cancer’ entered my life, I was and a female multi-breed dog. All three were adopted from shelters. Our dog
Hallie is our protector, confidante, companion, in-house comic and the purest
blind to the magnitude of the number of dogs diagnosed, the example of unconditional love. Our cats Max and Samantha are big fur balls
suffering they endure, and how many lose the battle.” who offer leg rubs, warm laps (even in the summer heat!), purrs that totally relax
[our] busy minds and attitudes! Their love can be conditional depending on their
– Kristen Crawford (pictured above with her dog Dawson) moods but when they give it, it's so real and big!
Our animals make us smile every day. We can only hope that we bring as
much joy to them as they do to us. Sharing our life with animals is sheer pleas-
You play a key role in safeguarding Crawford’s 11-year-old Labrador HOW OFTEN DOES YOUR
your pets. Regular check-ups at the vet- retriever, Dawson was diagnosed with ure and fills a place in our lives that only
erinary clinic and recognition of any transitional cell carcinoma in February they can complete. PET GET VACCINES?
changes in behavior, and energy level and is – as she says – “still fighting We mostly interact with Dr. Dean Small. He has Ask your veterinarian about the pros
help identify cancer before it spreads. strong!” and cons to each vaccine.
unquestionably enhanced our relationships with
With early intervention many cancers Every pet has different needs.
our animals by genuinely caring, explaining
are curable and there are an increasing Additional resources
everything, hiring an extremely caring staff, and
number of treatment options available. • “How to Deal with Your Dog’s Cancer
Ask your team of veterinary profes- Diagnosis” following up on visits. They offer the best care Learn why vaccines are an
important part of your pet’s health.
sionals today about this serious disease, • http://www.ehow.com/how_2038770_
and arm yourself with information to deal-dogs-cancer-diagnosis.html
protect your pets. • http://www.healthypet.com/library_ - Barbara Varhol takes her pets to Johnson County Animal
After learning about high incidence view.aspx?ID=37 Clinic, an AAHA-accredited hospital in Kansas.
4 PetsMatter PetsMatter 5
Whispers You Want Making Time for Play Could Prevent or Reduce
Your Dog to Hear Behavior Problems Caused by Stress in Cats
Well before prime-time television actors Talk with your veteri- Establishing positive playtime with said. “Unfortunately people don’t
recognized a market for canine behavior nary team to get a list of cats—even five or ten minutes a day— understand how to set these rules.” Resources:
programming, veterinary professionals trusted professionals. reduces stress and may prevent play To establish positive playtime use The Indoor Cat Initiative
had been educating clients about how to Lone Tree Veterinary aggression, a common behavior com- toys—not hands or feet—to start games (www.vet.ohio-state.edu/2218.htm)
teach, nurture, and maintain good pet Medical Center, an plaint, say veterinary experts, who have that involve chasing and pouncing. Kitty provides examples of popular toys as
behavior. AAHA-accredited hos- learned that cats—like dogs—benefit fishing lines, balls, and furry mice held well as solutions for scratching and
As experts in the field of pet health, pital in Colorado, built a from owner interaction. a few feet away from the body are good other tips.
veterinarians and technicians know that Canine Academy on site It may be hard to imagine that cats tools to use. Cat Behavior Tip Sheets from the
bad behavior can lead to animal aban- and hired Eric Gillaspy, lounging around the house feel stressed, Overall, play aggression normally Humane Society of the United States
donment. They also recognize that some a canine behavior con- but medical studies prove that they do occurs when cats misinterpret owner (www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/our_pets_
behaviors, such as urinating in the sultant and trainer, to and that it can lead to aggressive play. actions as games, say behavior experts. for_life_program/cat_behavior_tip_sheets)
house, aggression, anxiety, and self- work with clients “We put cats in abnormal situations For example: One cat regularly jumped
mutilation can have medical causes. referred by veterinarian when we keep them inside and confine on two young boys as they raced down a Aggression Information from the
To address behavior issues before Bill Moyle, Jr. them with multiple cats,” said Valarie hallway after bath time. Humane Society of the United States
they become problems, veterinary clin- “A well-behaved dog Tynes, DVM, diplomate of the “The kids were screaming and chas- (www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/our_pets_
ics across the country offer classes and is a good family mem- American College of Veterinary ing each other and the cat thought it for_life_program/cat_behavior_tip_sheets/
problem at the clinic. For example, if he aggression_towards_people.html)
refer clients to qualified professionals. ber and is less likely to be placed in a Behaviorists (ACVB). “Yet cat lovers was funny to land on the kids’ butts,”
sees a dog lunging or barking at other
Some clinics hire professionals with shelter,” said Nancy Moyle, PhD, co- know it’s hard to get just one.” said Sharon Crowell-Davis, DVM, PhD, American College of Veterinary
dogs, he may talk with the owner about
advanced degrees in animal behavior owner. “Anyone who has a pet [he/she] To keep cats happy, veterinary behav- ACVB diplomate. “He thought there Behaviorists
how he/she can correct the behavior. He
(certified applied animal behaviorists) loves understands what that means.” ior specialists suggest that owners play was a really good game going on.” (www.dacvb.org/community/blog/
is also called into exam rooms for
and others suggest dog trainers. When addressing behavior issues — for at least five minutes each day with She suggested that the owners shut a public_education/)
impromptu consultations for separation
such as excessive barking, jumping, and cats individually or in a group. To deter- door to the cat’s room during bath time
anxiety and other common behavior
chewing — early intervention is impor- mine whether you should separate cats so he couldn’t see the boys run down
tant. Professionals say almost all behav- for play, watch to see if they sleep side the hallway. The “attacks” stopped.
“I was really happy that my veterinari-
ior issues can be resolved but they warn by side and groom each other, Tynes Owners can also try distracting a cat
an had a trainer on staff that he obviously
that effective training takes time. said. That behavior indicates good inter- during instances of play aggression. By
trusted,” said Bert Atkinson, a client at Does your dog lag behind on walks?
action and gives a green light to group throwing something across a cat’s line
Lone Tree and The Canine Academy.
play, she said. of vision, he/she will chase the toy
“Eric always stresses that your dog Seem reluctant to go up and
The Right Trainer should be having a good time, [which]
When hiring trainers, veterinary profes- down the stairs?
makes me and my dogs feel comfortable.
sionals look for depth of experience. I think I’m learning just as much, if not “Playtime provides mental stimulation and exercise,
The Moyles liked the fact that Gillaspy more, than my dogs,” he said.
had worked at the Academy of Canine The owner of a boxer and two pit bulls,
if you don’t engage your cats you have all these potential
Behavior in Washington State for six Gillaspy knows how important it is to
years and volunteered with a pit bull problems with aggression as well as obesity.”
have dogs fit into their owners’ lifestyles.
rescue group. To illustrate how effective his training — Valarie Tynes, DVM
An important part of the veterinary can be, he uses his boxer, Violet, as a
team, Gillaspy consults with veterinari- class assistant and a positive example.
ans if he suspects a medical cause for Subtle
A hospital therapy dog, Violet shows
behavior problems and frequently inter- canine students how to resist the urge
“Playtime provides mental stimulation instead of going after your feet. changes in
venes if he sees a budding behavior and exercise,” Tynes said. “If you don’t In addition to establishing positive
continued on page 8 engage your cats you have all these playtime, owners need to recognize and
potential problems with aggression as respect a cat’s limits. Some cats are behavior may
Resources: well as obesity. The goal is to get these finicky about what types of toys they indicate pain.
Association of Pet Dog Trainers — provides information on what to look for animals up and off the sofa. They need like and are specific about the type of
in a trainer [owner] involvement.” attention they want.
Step one is to teach cats what is “Most cats do not like to be held
Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists — www.certifiedanimalbehaviorist.com
appropriate play. upside down or scratched on the belly,” Ask your doctor about
American College of Veterinary Behaviorists — Go to www.dacvb.org/home4 to Cats that attack moving feet or jump Crowell-Davis said. Since they groom pain management.
find a veterinarian board certified in behavior on owners without warning may not each other on the head and neck those
American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior — avsabonline.org/avsabonline have learned the basics, Tynes are safe areas but signs—like twitching www.stepstoplaymore.com
explained. “Kittens learn if they hurt tails and low growling noises—indicate
International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants — www.iaabc.org
other kittens or cats play ends,” she that they have had enough.
6 PetsMatter PetsMatter 3
Veterinary Professionals Act as Pet Advocates Pet Euthanasia: The Last Stage of Care for Beloved Pets
continued from page 3
couch. “It’s a warm, home-like environ- very personal, heart-wrenching experi- Although the question of euthanizing a ized pet euthanasia services
ment,” said Michelle Iund, DVM, owner. ence, I can unequivocally tell you that Euthanasia Resources for pet is emotional, preparing for this end- tailored to support client
Saying goodbye to a cherished pet is nothing prepares you for that time.” Pet Owners of-life procedure can alleviate some emotions in the early 1980s.
never easy but veterinary professionals Joy Dias, PhD, director of the stress and grief associated with it. One of the first grief support
can help you identify when it is in the Companions Program at the University The Argus Institute: Euthanasia, a painless experience for programs was Changes:
pet’s best interest to do so. Iund recent- of Florida Veterinary Medical Center, http://www.argusinstitute.colostate.edu the pet when conducted by a veterinari- Support for People and Pets.
/grief.htm offers comprehensive read- an, may be the last act of compassion It is now known as the Argus
ing lists related to the decision to euth- you can show toward your ill or suffer- Institute at Colorado State
anize a pet, understanding the process, ing pet. Veterinarians, who recognize University. The Argus
Euthanasia: …a painless and easy death to a talking to children about the death of a how personal this decision is, help Institute offers direct clinical
pet, grief management, and pet loss guide clients through the process. support to pet owners and
patient suffering from an incurable or painful disease. hotlines. Questions that pet owners who face training to veterinarians and
— Webster’s II New College Dictionary The Association for Pet Loss and this decision often ask their veterinary veterinary students.
Bereavement (http://www.aplb.org) professionals include:
offers a live chat room where grieving • Is my pet suffering? Consultation
ly euthanized her own pet Jesse, a agreed. “If you’re waiting for the day pet owners can contact someone day • What are the effective treatment To help clients with this diffi- Vista Veterinary Hospital in Texas, the
beloved 16-year-old cocker spaniel, so when all the events are right to make or night. In some cases, professional options? cult decision, some veterinarians dedi- grief/consultation suite is windowed and
she knows firsthand that there is no the decision [to euthanize a pet], it’ll counseling may be warranted. • How do I know if the illness/condition cate tranquil spaces within clinics where contains plants and a comfortable
one-size-fits-all approach. never happen.” Article: “How to Cope with the Loss is affecting my pet’s quality of life? private discussions about pet euthanasia
“I’d had her since she was six weeks Arming yourself with pertinent Veterinarians began offering formal- can take place. At AAHA-accredited continued on page 6
of a Pet”
old,” Iund said. “She was my close details can, however, soften the emo- http://www.ehow.com/how_2032672_cop
companion and inspiration. From this tional blow. Knowing how illness e-death-pet.html
affects pets helps pet owners feel more
confident about the difficult decision Pets, Students Benefit From Unique Internship Opportunity
to euthanize, professionals said.
Nutrition Tips for Dias, who offers bereavement coun- continued from page 1
seling, advises pet owners to ask
Weight Management whether pets will get better, if the good Questions to Consider before hours a day at different community
days outweigh the bad, and when that Euthanasia Procedures: venues. The veterinary hospital is a
“For severely disabled kids,
balance will shift shift. “Would you favorite choice. Student tasks range
High levels of protein in a pet's weight rather [have] your pet’s last day be a • Should the procedure be handled at from washing dishes to folding towels,
loss diet stimulates metabolism and the veterinary clinic or at home? being with animals helps them
good or bad one?” she asks clients. and perks include befriending the
promotes fat loss. patients.
Veterinarians urge pet owners to con- • Which family members should be to learn to react or respond.”
sider that the average life span is 10 to present? It is a mutually beneficial arrange-
Maintaining a healthy weight can help
12 years for dogs and 12 to 15 years ment, said Britt Schaffeld, DVM, – Cathy Griffith, teacher
minimize the risk of weight • How will you explain the decision to
for indoor cats. A pet’s age and stamina owner of the Animal Medical Center Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe High School
related problems such as other family members?
arthritis and are factors to consider when weighing (IAMC).
diabetes mellitus. euthanasia against a possible extended “Miss Griffith and her students make
medical recovery effort that may last a sure each animal gets lots of extra it’s like a real job. For severely disabled
The Purina Life few weeks or months. attention,” Schaffeld said. “Any way kids, being with animals helps them to
Span study Barb Gaddess, a registered veteri- to help the cat but due to the increas- you look at it, with this program every- learn to react or respond.” For exam-
showed that nary technician and owner of Valley ing breathing trouble it would be best one wins.” ple, a boy with severe difficulties, who
maintaining an Veterinary Hospital, an AAHA- Griffith, whose three cats and one did not display much emotion, bright-
to euthanize him.”
ideal body dog are treated at AMC said, “The ened significantly at the veterinary
accredited hospital in Canada, said A client recently sent the following
condition can actually
that the ideal scenario is for veterinar- note to the team at Valley Veterinary whole class has observed my cat's hospital.
help dogs live longer
ians and clients to make euthanasia Hospital for their help during the checkup and Dr. Schaffeld even let While he was there, his demeanor
decisions together. euthanasia of her pet Rocko: them listen to [my cat’s] heartbeat.” changed, Griffith said. “His face lit up
For example, the hospital recently “I will never be able to express to The clinic also treats the class ham- as he’d gently pet the kittens.”
purinaveterinarydiets.com admitted a cat that was struggling to you how deeply I appreciated your sters. “One poor hamster had to have Michelle Griswold, a tenth-grade,
breathe. Despite many attempts with support, kindness and gentleness… his leg amputated but thanks to Dr. special-education student with pets at
medication, surgery, and therapy, the especially for showing me how much Schaffeld, Meatball, our three-legged home, said “My favorite part is work-
cat did not recover, she explained. you cared for Rocko that day and hamster, led a long and happy life,” she ing with the animals, but I am learning
“The client and veterinarian decided always. I really needed that. It helped added. responsibility and am making friends
that they had done everything possible me in my sorrow.” “We have a wide variety of students with the animals, the other students,
and abilities,” Griffith said. “For some, and the people at the Center.”