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Scared Of Vet Now (Showing Teeth)


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Checking for some suggestions on how to best help Yogi get comfortable again with our vet. Here's the background:

 

Yogi has been with us only about 6 weeks. The first week we had him, I brought him to the vet for a check-up. He did great. Yogi is an outgoing boy who loves people. He leaned against the receptionist, the vet techs, and the vet. He got treats from everyone and had a grand ole time. During the exam, we discovered he had a wax blockage in one of his ears. He allowed the vet to check his ears, put the lighted probe in his ears, etc. without a second glance - no problem at all. My vet put him on some ear drops for two weeks.

 

After two weeks, we went back to the vet for an ear check, but also for his heartworm test and his lepto shot. Those two things were done first, before the ear check. Yogi did okay during the heartworm blood draw and shot, but it was obvious he was in some discomfit. The shot stung a bit and for the blood draw they had to do it twice (didn't get enough blood the first time before the vein stopped giving). After all that, when my vet went to check his ears, he kept jerking his head away from her - very sharply. So we decided to let him be and I'd bring him back in a week or so just for a quick ear check.

 

The ear check visit was this morning. I brought Yogi in. We had the same exam room as the last visit. The vet tech came in and Yogi greeted her easily. She gave him a treat and pets. He was fine. When the vet came in, as soon as she entered the room I noticed a change in Yogi. He turned his head away from her and leaned directly into me. My vet came over and petted him and he seemed okay. She came back over with the tool to look into his ears and he wouldn't let her. He gave a low growl and showed his teeth. My vet backed off and gave him a minute or two and talked to him. She tried again and the same thing happened.

 

It seems to me he's relating the pain he felt at his last visit to the vet, especially since we were in the same room. We tried moving to another exam room and having my vet in there before I entered with Yogi. Yogi was better. My vet gave him a treat (which he took), petted him and talked with him and he seemed okay, although not completely comfortable. My vet continued to pet him and was able to listen to his chest with her stethoscope and rub his head. We decided not to push the ear exam.

 

(FYI - Yogi's ears are looking good to me, so I don't think his reaction has to do with pain in his ears. At home I can put the drops in, rub his ears, clean his ears with cotton balls, etc. without any problem whatsoever.)

 

Our plan is for me to bring Yogi to the vets a bunch of times over the next month or so just as a social visit. I'll set up times that my vet will be working (it's a two vet practice) and she'll have Yogi in just for pets and treats so that he'll begin associating good things with her.

 

Has anyone else dealt with this issue? Any other suggestions to help get Yogi comfortable with my vet again? I'm a little worried that anytime he goes to the vet and has anything done that produces any kind of pain, this is what will happen. I haven't dealt with this before, so I'd love to hear how others may handle this.

 

Thanks.

 

Pat

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I think that it's great that you have the forethought to want your dog to be easy to treat by the vet. I used to work for a vet years ago and it's really tough to deal with difficult dogs and as a result, they can get hurt or not get the treatment that they need. I recently had something similar where a bandage was stuck to my foster girl's leg from a pretty serious gash and I didn't want to take her back to the vet to have it removed because it was probably going to be painful and I didn't want her to have "bad memories" of a vet visit. So I ended up "working" it off over a few days.

 

I might suggest a few things to make sure there are positive associations with the vet. Have the vet (or you) give the dog a vanilla milkshake and give this a few times over the next few visits - the dog might be a little loose for a day or so after but, the result will be worth it. On some of the days that you do not give a milkshake, take the dog for a walk from the vet's office either before and after the visit. And lastly, it might be very helpful to give your dog a massage (some dogs love them, some hate them) or maybe a brushout if you think that either one of these could "calm" the dog down. Some greyhounds don't like being brushed "past" a certain point so this could cause some "bad behavior" -- something to watch out for.

 

One other note, your dog could be picking up "subtle messages" from you and if you are nervous, the dog could start acting up because of that.

 

It sounds like you have a great vet (and staff) that is willing to work with you and that is 1/2 the battle.

 

Good luck

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Guest mirthlesstroll

Make sure the vet has some AWESOME treat to give Yogi - like roast beef or baked chicken,(that he won't be able to get from anyone else) so he thinks she's the neatest person ever.

You might also want to try some calming supplements like Rescue Remedy or ProCalm. I like the RR - some for dog, some for me......

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Guest sheila

I had a dog that was fine at the vet until the day the junior vet totally quicked his nail while trimming them. After that whenever ANYONE at the office would attempt to touch his feet he would scream and howl and thrash. The senior vet suggested a muzzle for both the dog and the staff. The result was as soon as the muzzle went on the dog calmed right down. I attributed that to the training at the track kennels.

BTW I ended up buying a dremel and learning to do nails at home so my guy didn't have to be scared at the vet.

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Guest Cris_M

Lots of great ideas above.

 

Here's an additional idea. Perhaps Yogi is scared of the tool (otoscope?). If that is possible, desensitizing him to it would be big help. If the vet has an old tool you can take home for a bit, great. If not, you can do the work at the office. If it's at the office, you will need to make sure Yogi is comfortable there.

 

Basically, you introduce the tool and give treats. The idea is to reward very small increments of good behavior. First, put the tool where Yogi can see it. If he looks at it, treat. If he noses it, treat. Pick it up. Treat if he looks at it or noses it. Hold the tool and touch his face/ear with your hand -- he should still see the tool in your other hand. Again, treat as before. Touch the tool to his face/ear. Treat calm behavior. And so on and so on.

 

It can take a while to get from one step to the other. When Yogi balks at the next step, back off. Move to the step before, treat and end the session.

 

This type of training works on all sorts of things. It works great on getting a dog happy with the Dremel.

 

Or, you could try the sniff test. Not as scientific, but a lot easier. Sniff Yogi's ear. If it smells okay, figure you're on the right track.

 

Hopefully, you and Yogi don't need anymore otoscope sessions anyway.

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Depends on whether you think he's absolutely terrified or just doing the buffalo. Either way, a kennel (basket) muzzle is your friend. Absolutely terrified, muzzle with peanutbutter inside and a couple visits to the vet's office to be looked at by strangers while wearing his peanutbutter muzzle. Doing the buffalo, extra visits not necessary, peanutbutter optional, just put muzzle on before exam and if he vocalizes, laugh at him and get on with it. Option #3 may have more to do with angle of approach / arrangement of vet and dog but that's hard to judge from a distance; I have one who doesn't like to be examined while lying down and one who will scream so as to shatter glass if you bend over her in the wrong way.

 

Lest the above seem cold and uncharacteristic of me: Toenails, ears, etc. are occasions where you will get some dogs who express themselves out of mild psychological discomfort and not total fear. For those dogs, a laugh and moving right along is usually all that's needed. Muzzle is in case you're wrong, protects everybody from embarrassment.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Thanks, everyone, for your help and advice. I'm bringing Yogi in for a social visit on Thursday night when my vet is on. I'll have some great treats (roast beef) to give to my vet for Yogi.

 

Batmom - I'm not sure if it's fear or Buffalo, so the basket muzzle with the peanut butter is a good idea.

 

Yogi has a different personality than I'm used to, so I appreciate the guidance.

 

I'll post an update after the visit on Thursday.

 

Pat

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i went thru this w/ felix(who never had track training, he has been w/ me since week 7). i don't know if it was part of adolescence, but he couldn't decide if he liked my vet or not and i couldn't decide if felix was making the hair on my vet's back stand up. it was a wierd match.

 

i spoke to my vet(who i have used for over 30 years), started having him look at felix outside the office in the parking lot after we would sit on a step and chat. then he was able to do a scraping with out any problem. felix was fine for a while, then his teeth/fear popped up again. i know that felix was fearful. i popped on a muzzle and let my vet do his work holding him really securely. felix has had numerous staples, generally i just get peed on while i hold him(they hurt, but my vet is really fast).

 

i always treate felix w/ dehydrated liver treats, i use them for training. ultimately we found out having the muzzle availabe was necessary. we don't use it all the time, but have it ready, somewhere in my pocketbook or the exam table. also, having his tech or better yet, his preteen kids are around on weekends to distract felix has worked well. but a handsome reward is always the conclusion to our visits.

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Buffalo?

 

Buffalo = kinda trying to put one over on you, kinda like diva behavior. Would rather not have whatever it is done, obviously, but isn't all that serious about the protest.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest Giselle

Honestly, all you can really do is desensitize and counter conditioning, which it sounds like you already know like the back of your hand :)

 

It's classic fear = basic DS/CC. He'll get over it soon enough if you nip it in the bud and counter condition him before the negative association gets ingrained into his head. With persistence and patience, you'll be fine!

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Thanks, Giselle! I appreciate the encouragement! I'll let you know how things go on Thursday.

 

Pat

 

Honestly, all you can really do is desensitize and counter conditioning, which it sounds like you already know like the back of your hand :)

 

It's classic fear = basic DS/CC. He'll get over it soon enough if you nip it in the bud and counter condition him before the negative association gets ingrained into his head. With persistence and patience, you'll be fine!

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