New Rescue. First Vet Visit... Disaster - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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New Rescue. First Vet Visit... Disaster

Going on three weeks with the new girl. About 8 to 10 months old. We know little about her history, other than a stray. Rescue org gave her rabies shot, blood work, spay, etc.


Took her to the regular vet of ours (Banfield...flame away...they've been okay for us thus far). Anyway, I'm telling this second hand since wife took her in, but it was a total disaster. Dog turned aggressive, they had to muzzle her, people trying to hold her down, dog crying, etc. The dog is not aggressive, but is leery of strangers.

Apparently the young vet got spooked by her behavior/reaction.
We are certainly open to changing vets to someone local. Frankly I prefer that over corporate.

Looking for general advice to keep her calm and get acclimated to the vet? What should we do and more importantly the vet? I can't think 4 people pinning a dog down to take blood helped the situation. All they recommended was sedation and don't want to do that for every visit.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 07:57 PM
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https://fearfreepets.com/resources/directory/

Since you are open to finding a new vet, Magwart has mentioned this a few times and if I did not love my vet and the clinic, I would use it to locate another.

Its a shame that this happened especially if it was her first vet experience with her new family. It may take a bit more work to help her get comfortable with vet visits now but with the right staff and methods, it is probably repairable.

For the first time in his life, my guy gave our vet the sweetest most gentle unexpected kiss. The woman is so calm and Patient. I travel an hr for the necessary visits.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Spicoli View Post
Going on three weeks with the new girl. About 8 to 10 months old. We know little about her history, other than a stray. Rescue org gave her rabies shot, blood work, spay, etc.


Took her to the regular vet of ours (Banfield...flame away...they've been okay for us thus far). Anyway, I'm telling this second hand since wife took her in, but it was a total disaster. Dog turned aggressive, they had to muzzle her, people trying to hold her down, dog crying, etc. The dog is not aggressive, but is leery of strangers.

Apparently the young vet got spooked by her behavior/reaction.
We are certainly open to changing vets to someone local. Frankly I prefer that over corporate.

Looking for general advice to keep her calm and get acclimated to the vet? What should we do and more importantly the vet? I can't think 4 people pinning a dog down to take blood helped the situation. All they recommended was sedation and don't want to do that for every visit.
Find a new vet. I took Shadow in for her 6 month booster, she was being a bit of a wingnut. Vet she has never seen before walks in, grabs her, Shadow figures it's wrestle time, vet up and cracks her across the face. I get angry and complain before leaving. Next vet is clearly afraid, hovers in the doorway making Shadow nervous before coming in and jumping away every time Shadow moves. Next vet calls in reinforcements and pins her down. It just goes on. I have a dog who is wary to start with and it seems not to matter that I keep explaining if they just give her a second she is sweet as sugar once she knows you.
I now have an 8.5 year old dog that MUST be sedated and muzzled to get her near a vet. Never stay with a vet who cannot handle or is afraid of your dog. To my mind if they are so busy that they cannot give a nervous dog a few minutes to get a grip on the new people and surroundings then they don't need my money.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 10:31 PM
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I agree, find a new vet and one that is willing to approach a GSD the right way.

Also one thing you could try with the new vet is to bring your dog for a "visit". That is you bring your dog to the parking lot, walk around, leave. You bring your dog inside, meet a receptionist and maybe a vet tech, and leave. I had a cool vet that would let me leave my dog at the front desk, drive around the block, and come back. The vet became this place she just went to like Home Depot or Lowes. It can make it easier if every visit to the vet isn't all about getting poked and prodded.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 11:06 PM
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Making quick painless visits to the vet (weight check etc. can help ease the anxiety. I like recommended vets comfortable with gsds- big difference. You can always have a mobile vet come to the home also.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 11:16 PM
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Find a fear free vet. That is a vet that doesn’t overbook, that has time to get your dog comfortable before the exam, that understands a dog needs time to get used to strangers. My puppy became vet phobic with our previous vet, so to get him used to the new one, I took him in a few times a week during their lunch hour when they were not busy. I weighed him and the office staff took a few minutes to play with him. When I took him in for exams, I brought a can of spray cheese and sprayed it on things he could lick while they examined him like a Kong. The vet plays with his fur in a way he likes while she checks his organs, listens to his heart and even while giving shots. He thinks he’s getting a massage but it is actually an exam. Now, he love the vet and thinks it is play time and I don’t need to use that crummy cheese.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-08-2019, 11:28 PM
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I got Zoya last May at 5 years old and same thing, before I got her she had to have a C-section and after the people that had her let her swallow balls. The vets must have treated her badly because every vet I have taken her to , I have had to muzzle her. I think vets should at least talk to the dog before they just reach out at the dog. Some vets need to learn bedside manners too. Before you take this poor dog to another vet, ask to talk to the vet and ask if they have experience with a fearful GSD.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 08:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I was thinking the same, e.g. visit a few times, but no exam... Now to find a more patient and less corporate oriented vet.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 10:19 AM
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Reports from two different vets have "must muzzle at all times!" for my guy --- I was lucky to find a vet that took her time, said "pfftt" to muzzling him, said "he's not bad at all!" They are out there... he is ok at the vet's office now, no growling, no aggression.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 05-09-2019, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Heartandsoul View Post

Yep! My regular vet clinic got all the vets, the techs, and much of the kennel staff certified Fear Free, and though I always liked them before, I liked them even more now. They implement lots of distraction, de-escalation, and calming techniques so that things don't have to end up like they did for your dog -- the whole vibe in the exam room is different than in other clinics. In some ways, I think the vets most likely to want to get certified are the ones who philosophically are advocating for their patients in the first place--it costs a little money to get certified, takes longer during exams (fewer patients per day can be seen), requires buying stuff like washable soft surface pads to cover cold metal for pets sensitive to that, lots of "good stuff" in each exam room, etc. Clinics willing to make that investment of time and money are keepers!


This video may help introduce the movement:


I also strongly recommend becoming familiar with the owner part of the Fear Free organization -- they have lots of instructional videos on what YOU can do to get your pet ready for vet visits, get it used to handling, etc.:

https://fearfreehappyhomes.com/


If you click on "courses," the instructional videos on how to prepare your pet for vet visits are all FREE. They also have free instruction-sheet downloads on preparing for your vet visit in the "For My Vet Visit" tab.

When you start over with a new vet, a few weeks before your appointment, be sure to go there with your dog a few times just to have the reception staff give lots of great treats (bring high value, favorite treats for them to give) -- go often enough that it's the place your dog associates with a jackpot of treats given by nice people. That's as important for you as for your dog, so that you're both walking in feeling good before the next visit!
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Last edited by Magwart; 05-09-2019 at 10:29 AM.
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