When a patient is healing from injury, there are a several ways to support them and their caregiver through the recovery process.
Dogs and cats can get hurt anytime, anywhere. But often when accidents happen, clients become overwhelmed with the idea of helping their pet heal. Not only is the injury itself stressful – so is learning how to best care for the animal during the recovery process. As a veterinarian, it’s your job to support your clients through this stressful time by offering guidance and encouragement.
Start by explaining the injury
Some pet parents have little understanding of the difference between a major and minor injury. Minor injuries such as bruises, abrasions, torn nails and insect bites or stings can often cause your client as much concern as a more serious issue such as a broken bone, bite wound or laceration, so start by explaining the injury and the type of care that will be required during the recovery process. Gaining a more comprehensive knowledge of the injury will help your client feel more capable and in control.
It’s also important to explain that while certain injuries are more serious than others, pet parents should always be careful when performing aftercare. Dogs and cats may snap and bite when in pain or out of fear, so even something as simple as applying a cleansing solution should be done with caution.
Encourage them to learn their pets’ subtle cues
Encourage clients to be especially attentive to their animal’s subtle cues of discomfort during the recovery process. This will help them gauge how well the animal is healing so that they can maintain a lifestyle that prevents reinjury and promotes optimal healing.
Offer additional tips for a smoother recovery
Once an animal leaves your clinic, there are tricks pet parents can use to ensure a smooth recovery. Furry companions with physical injuries may need to be crated and limited to leash walks. If a dog requires round-the-clock care, a pet sitter with a basic knowledge of first aid must be hired to ensure the pet parent doesn’t reach the point of burnout.
It’s also important to explain to clients that injured pets can experience mental roadblocks that can keep them from returning to normal even after the injury itself has healed. Fear-based behaviors may develop, or the animal may become depressed. When this happens, there are ways a pet parent can help their precious pooch or kitty return to a healthy mental state. Regular exercise (in moderation) is important, as is quality time and plenty of positive reinforcement. Paying close attention to a pet’s behavior is key — any major setbacks can be indicative of a bigger issue and a need for a follow up.
Offering your support and advice can make a world of difference during an animal’s recovery process. With time, patience and the right level of care, almost all injured pets gradually return to their previous selves with the love and comfort of their caregivers.