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So upset - dog went berserk at vets.(30 Posts)
Our 11 month old rescue girl got a piece of twig lodged in her mouth while out with the dog walker and she had to take her to the vets. She was completely petrified but unfortunately it manifested as aggression and they couldn't even get near her to muzzle her so had to use the dog catcher loop thing (sorry not sure what it's called). The vet called me after she came round and seemed very worried about her reaction. I knew she was scared in the vets. Before we got her she'd had a few trips to the vets and was really shaky and a bit snarky when we took her for a check up buy nothing like this. Vet has recommended a behavuourist etc but I just feel quite worried and upset that it will be behaviour which she might display in other circumstances. She's shown no aggressive tendencies at all in the 4 months we've had her. She's giddy and boisterous with other dogs at times which is something we are going to work on but great with people. A bit nervous initially but if approached calmly and kindly will be fine. Can anyone offer advice or just sympathise. I feel awful. She's absolutely fine now, back home and snoozing next to me on sofa
Might her behaviour have been worse because she was there with the dog walker, rather than with you?
OP All I can do is offer sympathy. My Ddog when young had to be muzzled at the vets because he too is highly nervous. Fine round people normally. I would definitely see a behaviourist if you can, if only to settle your own mind and sort out how best you can help your girl.
Utterly I don't know. I think she must have been panicky and worked up before she even got there so not sure it would have made any difference? I couldn't get out of work and dh was away.
Might be worth trying visits to the vets, just popping in and getting weighed etc. nothing scary to see how she reacts. Build up her confidence.
It sounds like she was showing some tendencies before when you said she was snarky and coupled with adrenaline, fear and pain it tipped over. I would follow up with the behaviourist and see what they recommend as vet visits are unfortunately common which is probably why your vet is concerned.
Strong, I had been doing that but She was still very scared to go in, even with treats etc.
She’s still a puppy and was obviously terrified and in pain. I don’t think you can assume that her behaviour under those circumstances is relevant to her normal behaviour. Even my docile little ball of fluff tried to bite the vet because she was tired and poorly and a stranger poked her with a sharp needle. Some training might help her cope better with pain or scary circumstances.
The vet was concerned enough to suggest you get professional help, i’d take their advice. A behaviorist can assess the dog, tell you if there is anything you should worry about and give you strategies for improving her behaviour at the vet’s.
Do get a behaviourist advice on this. Your dog was terrified and just reacted out of fear. Actually pretty normal behaviour but it would be kind to give her some help to deal with her fear to make visits more tolerable.
As a behaviourist this is bread and butter work and the correct plan can make a huge difference. If you need help in finding a qualified behaviourist in your area just pm.
Do not worry that her character will change and that this will become daily behaviour for her the trigger was fear at the vets and no more.
Do watch for subtle signs of her being uncomfortable or stressed eg lip licking, turning away, yawning, peeing lots, panting if this happens calmly remove her from the situation.
I took my rottweiler about a sore ear. Omg she went off the scale! The vet said not to be alarmed as it wasn't my dog I was seeing but a dog pushed to the brink. She wee-d, tried to attack him whilst wearing a muzzle, hair all up, foaming at the mouth. Fully expected him to suggest pts on the spot tbh.
Outside the vets, back to family pet.
Seek the advice suggested. Your poor ddog was petrified.
Try not to worry.
My dog hates the vet, she repeatedly muzzle punched him once and I had to hold her head in case she bit him..
She was really extremely ill though and it was very out of character, the vet is such a terrifying place and they are often sick or in pain on top, it really brings out the worst in them.
She is an incredibly tolerant friendly little dog usually.
If you’ve never seen any hint of discomfort around people before you’ll probably only see it at the vet I expect
Don't panic, it can be managed!
How would you react if you thought you were being attacked? Dogs are no different. What you need to work on is socialising her to situations so she doesn't misinterpret. I'd be more worried if you had kids? As a dog that reacts aggressively when it feels trapped isn't great for kids..
My eldest growled and went to bite a vet once because she pinned him down in a corner, and after that I practically had to drag him in and shovel treats down his neck. When a vet came within spitting distance in the consultation room he would then urinate all over himself and scramble to get away usually falling over in the process
That episode probably started about 7 years ago and within two years he was much better. I used to walk him by the vets and magic lots of treats out of my pocket for him even being willing to walk up to the door, then we'd walk away and go home. Eventually I could get him in the door, then to the consult room etc. He used to have to be sedated to have his anal glands done and similar he reacted so badly.
In the end we moved vets because I didn't rate the ones at the practice it started at, and the new vets were much more understanding. They were very patient with him and I think the different environment really helped him to have positive associations with the new place. I am very, very firm about how people handle him now but luckily I find most vets can tell he's a bit nervous (he gets giddy) and they get straight on the floor with him and effectively introduce themselves which seems to work really well.
I'm rambling now, but I just wanted to say it can and does get better, there are things that can be done. And for what it's worth, my lad is a golden retriever who I got as a puppy, so not the kind of dog you'd expect to have problems in the vets! Sadly he's spent lots of his life at the vets so we have met a couple of less good ones.
I've got another dog who reacts very differently if she is with me compared to anybody else (she seems to think I can't look after myself and will guard me) and so I have to be very firm with her, every dog has their quirks and it takes a long time to learn what those are.
Agree with LewisMam
It was an incredibly stressful, painful and scary situation and she didn't have you there. Lots of normally placid dogs hate the vets and have to be muzzled.
After a bit of a traumatic time, my dog ended up being very scared of the vets so every week I would take him down there, and we would just sit in the corner of the waiting room, I would talk and reassure him and give him loads of treats. The vet nurses and receptionists were very understanding and would come over and give him cuddles and treats.
Took quite a few visits, and then they were kind enough to let me practise in the consult rooms as well.
Still not 100% but he definitely doesn't stress out as much as he did. Put on quite a bit of weight from all the treats though!
When Ddog was about 8 months old he had to be sedated for an X-ray
When I went to collect him I was called into a separate waiting area to basically be told that he was a vicious monster who I should never allow near my children and that the vet had never seen such a dog come round from anaesthetic like that.
I contacted a Dogs Trust Behaviourist who came out and spent an hour with all of us and concluded that the vet was being over dramatic!!
Changed vets and although Ddog is happy to go there and gives paw to anyone within 2 feet etc if his back end is approached her has to be muzzled and even then he can’t be properly examined ( happy for me, DH and Dd to touch him anywhere so not a pain issue)
As soon as the vet is examining any other bit of him or giving jabs etc he’s no problem at all
So basically OP don’t worry about it, a good vet will work with you
Poor dog was frightened and panicking. Not easy for the vet to deal with but understandable that a dog might become fear aggressive in this situation.
My very happy, easy going small dog - small, so far easier to handle -has been known to scream and struggle in fear and panic at the vet when blood was being taken but as soon as I held her face and talked to her she calmed down and let them get on with what they needed to do; had I not been there the whole situation would have been a lot more of a struggle.
It could be the same for your dog, had you been able to be there she might not have been so panicky; no one's fault, just the way it was.
Might be an idea to let a behaviourist have a look at her and see if any help can be given in the longer term if she is a bit snarky at the vet -surely not an unusual thing for vets to deal with - but poor dog is probably not turning into some sort of hell hound and was just a very frighten animal.
Any dog with something lodged in its poor would’ve been in pain. Throw in the fact it’s a rescue dog with probably a poor background, and so of course it’s likely to react the way it did!
It was scared, in pain and frightened. It’s owner wasn’t around to comfort the dog. I’m not really sure why you/your vet is surprised at the dogs behaviour?
My partners dog has fear aggression and needs to be muzzled at the vets. The vet doesn’t make a big deal out of it. That’s what a decent vet is like - not all dogs willingly go to the vet and sit whilst being prodded and poked.
You sound almost disappointed in your dog for behaving the way it did. Poor thing.
Throw in the fact it’s a rescue dog with probably a poor background, and so of course it’s likely to react the way it did!
Sorry but I don’t think throwing in the word rescue is an excuse for any behaviour, full stop.
I agree with others that you can’t assume your dog will be anything other than lovely the rest of the time, being at the vets with the smells, strangers, pain just isn’t comparable. However it is extremely stressful for her and she still has to go every year for vaccinations and if she was poorly again and needed hospitalisation it would be a miserable experience for her and the staff there, and might limit the care she could receive. I would get a behaviourist for help with the nervousness at the vets and they may give you techniques that can help with the nervousness you mention at home.
My normally bomb proof Bichon is terrified of the vets (after a few instances where he had to go in and get stabbed). He will let me hold him but last time we were there he actually tried to bite the vet - much to my horror. I think I'll be muzzling him next time sadly. I have seen absolutely no sign of any change in his behavior at home - he still lets the kids maul him and plays nicely with other dogs and will sit still and let me pull burrs and thorns out of him. He will also let me bath him with no sign of aggression even though he is scared and hates it!
I think some dogs show behavioural changes at the vets and only the vets. Perhaps the vet wasn't even implying that it might span over into other areas but with vets being a part of life a behaviourist could help with managing that so future visits are better for everyone.
My dog is the opposite. Due to many admissions he is terrified of the vets but exhibits it with submissive behaviour rather than aggression. However, this has spilled into other areas as he is now terrified of the groomers table and equipment and being left with people he doesn't know as well.
Are you in an area with a lot of vet clinics? There are now vet programmes which teach vets low-stress handling techniques for patients. They began in the US, but there are some vets in the U.K. who are beginning to use these techniques. These are the two movements I’m aware of:
They are both in the US, but you could contact them to find out if they have a list of U.K. certified practices. A behaviourist might help too, but if the vet also understands the best ways for minimising fear, you double your chances of success.
Failing both those things, ask your vet if you can bring your dog in and out of the clinic when not being treated. Take some food and toys she loves and try to gradually build up her confidence. Vet nurses are usually good allies and willing to help.
My dog hates the vets. He’s tiny and soppy - goes up to strangers on his walks, tail wagging and asking to be stroked. He has to be muzzled at the vets as he turns into a complete bastard.
I left this thread alone for a while. But just wanted to update. Our insurance doesn't cover a behavuourist and the vet recommended one which was going to cost £700. Then another cheaper one which was 200 miles away. Anyway I have been walking her to the vets almost every day. At first she wouldn't go past the car park, shaking and terrified. Then gradually she got closer to the door. Then at the door and eventually briefly into the entrance. I didn't force and rewarded with treats and encouragement. On Thursday she came into the waiting room and sniffed around. Said hello to a dog in there and wagged her tail. Stood on the scales to to weighed. So we are making progress.
Some one further up said I seemed disappointed in her and expressed their pity for my dog because of my disappointment. That hurt. I was not disappointed in her, I was confused and upset as an inexperienced dog owner. Thank you for the other replies, they helped.