Zoe is a sweet, lovable, outgoing, and independent Border Terrier who lives with Nurse Rebecca. Zoe greets every guest at home with excitement, enjoys chasing birds out of the yard, and she loves naps most of all. At the vet, however, she would pant and bark anxiously, try to escape, and attempt to bite out of fear. Zoe has always been an anxious patient, but through diligence and gentle, persistent care, she has overcome many of her fears.

With Zoe (as with many of our patients) she is more relaxed with her favorite team members in a quiet room. A couple of hours before her visits to the clinic, she takes two different anti-anxiety medications. These help her to feel more secure and less frightened. When Zoe is at ease, she allows us to perform her care gently and quickly. She prefers less restraint, so we steady her or rub her ears without hugging her whole body. Sometimes, for injections or uncomfortable short procedures, Zoe wears a small basket muzzle to keep her and our team safe. She does not want to bite anyone, but snapping after a painful moment is a normal automatic response for many of our patients. Zoe does not like to eat treats when she is away from home, but many of our patients enjoy eating cheese or peanut butter during their visits.

Recently, Zoe had a dental cleaning performed. Since we know she becomes very stressed waiting in a kennel, our schedule was arranged so she was dropped off right when her procedure would begin. Dr. Mulligan checked Zoe in, listening to her heart and lungs, while Nurse Rebecca held her and whispered encouraging words. Zoe nuzzled her head into Rebecca, enjoying her ear rubs, and ignoring the other activity around her.

Nurse Sonja prepared a site for an IV catheter and administered the sedative that all patients receive as they prepare to undergo an anesthetic procedure. As the medication slowly took effect, Zoe went for a short walk outside and then snuggled in Rebecca’s arms as she began to feel more sleepy. The rest of her procedure went well, and during her recovery, she laid on blankets in a kennel with a heater.

As soon as she was alert and able to walk around on steady feet, she was discharged from the clinic. Zoe spent the rest of the day on her favorite chair, resting in the comfort of her own home. She was even more lovable and affectionate than usual after her procedure, and she is back to chasing wildlife out of her yard, barking a greeting at each new visitor to the home, and ruling the roost.

We understand that some pets are naturally happy to come to visit us, others are anxious in new environments, and some have had poor experiences in the past that influence their behavior at our clinic. At Lake Road Animal Hospital, we strive to make each visit a positive experience. We are always happy to accommodate special needs for anxious patients, allowing you to stay with your pet through their check-in process, using anti-anxiety medications, and discharging as soon as possible after procedures. If you ever have concerns about your pet’s level of comfort during their visits with us, please let us know.