After spending a number of years in small animal general practice, our staff understand first-hand that there is rarely ever any sufficient time to perform a behaviour consultation of adequate length, in between juggling a full waiting room of patients, unexpected walk-ins, emergencies, critical hospital cases and long surgeries. It is even harder as a GP vet to be able to know everything there is to know about every aspect of veterinary medicine. This unfortunate reality is why vets with a particular interest in specific fields like behavioural medicine are here to help you and your patients.
We don’t like stealing other people’s clients! Since we are a behaviour only practice, we do not provide clinical services (such as vaccinations, blood tests, surgery or dispense non-behaviour medications) nor do we provide management of conditions that are not in any way related to behaviour. Clients are sent back to their regular veterinarian, or referred to a specialist in the relevant field (if required) for the provision of such services.
Every case is sent back to their usual veterinarian for any required clinical monitoring (such as blood tests, urinalysis or check-ups) and for the management of any other non-behaviour related problem that may be identified, such as concurrent medical conditions. Pet Behaviour Vet exists to work together with general practitioners in order to provide their patients with the best available veterinary medical and psychological care. This important relationship would not be possible if we aimed to compete for business with them.
Our behaviour veterinarians are also available by phone or e-mail to support general practice veterinarians who may have general questions about how to manage their own behaviour cases.
If you would like one of our staff members to come to your practice to introduce themselves to your staff and explain the services that we can offer to your clients and patients, we would be more than happy to arrange this with you over the phone. Alternatively, if you would like us to send you some of our business cards in the post then please let us know.
Referring a Case
What to do if you have a case to refer to one of our behaviour veterinarians:
- If you like, give us a call or send us an e-mail to briefly discuss the case and/or confirm that your patient does indeed require the opinion of a behaviour veterinarian if you aren’t sure.
- Ensure that any concurrent or underlying medical conditions have been identified and treated if possible. A minimum workup of a full physical examination, cursory neurological examination, blood test (CBC, full biochemistry, T4) and basic urinalysis (dipstick and USG) is recommended for most adult dogs and cats. T4 levels are not required for juveniles. Additional tests may be required for certain cases (e.g. skin scraping, cytology and full thyroid panel for over-grooming cases; urine sediment exam, culture and bladder ultrasound for inappropriate urination; faecal exam for inappropriate toileting). Although not ‘gold standard’, we can still perform the consultation if these tests have not been performed.
- Give your client our details so that they can book an appointment with us directly and be given an estimate of costs, although it is very helpful if you are able to give them a ballpark figure beforehand if known.
- Let us know if you have a specific vet in mind who you want your patient to be seeing, otherwise the client will be offered the first available appointment with either of our veterinarians.
- With the client’s consent, send us a copy of the patient’s medical history, including: a) a summary of overall medical history, b) any recent physical exam, and pathology results, c) details of any behaviour advice given so far, d) details of any current or recent medications that the patient has been prescribed, and e) your preliminary behavioural diagnosis (if you have one). You can send this to us by email (preferred) or fax.
- With the client’s consent, we will keep you informed of your patient’s diagnosis, treatment recommendations and progress in a timely fashion. In return we ask that you keep us informed of any relevant monitoring test results and progress reports.
- While we remain the treating veterinarian for the patient’s mental illness, we prefer that you do not dispense any behavioural medications that we recommend unless we have been contacted for confirmation first. This is primarily to prevent any miscommunication between all parties and to encourage clients to give us direct feedback on their pet’s treatment plan, as in many cases their medications will need to be altered several times before the patient is stable and handed back to their primary care veterinarian. Until this time, we aim to provide the client with at least enough repeats to last until the next consultation is due.
Behaviour Advisory Service (vet-to-vet consultation)
Our principal veterinarian Dr Joanna McLachlan is available for consultation over the phone to thoroughly review and discuss with you any of your behaviour cases that you may require assistance with. You will always remain the treating veterinarian and continue to be responsible for management of your own case. The initial phone conversation will be either 30 or 60-minutes long, depending on the amount of guidance you require and how complicated the case is. Please contact our office for more information on how you can access this valuable service.
In Clinic Behaviour Consultations
Our behaviour veterinarians are available to visit vet clinics either regularly (weekly, fortnightly, monthly) or on an ad-hoc basis to provide an in-clinic behaviour consultation service for your clients and their pets. Please give us a call in the office to discuss how this can be arranged.
Staff Training- Lunch Seminars
We offer vet clinics informative lunchtime staff training seminars for a small fee. We can discuss topics such as reading dog and cat body language, preventing bite and scratch injury to staff, low stress handling in the clinic, behavioural medications and sedatives for procedures, basic training techniques and the latest puppy school recommendations. We tailor our seminars to the needs of your clinic.