Behaviour issues remain the leading cause for pets being surrendered to shelters. There are so many factors that contribute to a behaviour problem and it can be a very complex illness to treat or manage. Sometimes, a medical illness (such as osteoarthritis, dementia or a skin problem) can cause a change in behaviour. At Pascoe Vale Veterinary Hospital, we are a strong advocate for pet mental health and understanding the cause of behaviour problems in order to achieve a viable long term solution.
Often, behaviour problems are natural sequelae of pet stress; while we find the behaviour unacceptable (for example urine spraying in cats, signs of aggression in dogs, and even clipper or nail trim phobias!) it is actually an understandable response for the pet to display in the face of fear. It is what keeps them safe in the wild.
Understanding the motivation behind the problem behaviour is how we best come to a solution. Sometimes this involves the use of medications; ultimately, we aim for these to only be a temporary crutch while we re-train your pet to perform another, acceptable, behaviour. Some pets feel much better when on behaviour medications and will stay on them life long.
At Pascoe Vale Veterinary Hospital, a behaviour consultation starts with an initial problem assessment and physical examination. We take an in-depth look at your pet's medical history, behaviour history and day-to-day activities in order to try and understand what makes them unhappy. We then tailor a treatment and training program to try and target problem behaviours. Dr Chantelle Law has a special interest in pet mental health and works closely with Dr Gabrielle Carter (a behaviour specialist) to manage behaviour cases.
Just like a medical illness, pet mental illness in most cases CAN be managed and treated.
Please don't hesitate to ask any questions of our staff if you would like to know more.