• Claire Corridan

The IVBA’s inaugural event, held in Belfast on September 16th, 2022, was arranged in honour of Mr Des Thompson OBE, BA, MVB, MSc (VetGP) Hon. FRCVS. Des was the Chairman of the British Veterinary Behaviour Association for decades and campaigned to promote both the veterinary profession and the discipline of veterinary behaviour in Ireland throughout his career. Anyone who has met Des and enjoyed his company for any amount of time, can tell you how proud he is of both Ireland and the veterinary profession. Des’s input, energy and connections were instrumental in establishing the Young Vet Network and Vetlife/IVBF.

Combining 2 of Des’s passions: veterinary orthopaedics and veterinary behavioural medicine, the IVBA Belfast conference promised to “explore how a veterinary behavioural approach can enhance the management of companion animal orthopaedic cases.” Guest speakers included Professor Stuart Carmichael (Joint Adventures Ltd) who explained the importance of treating the animal and not the x-ray! Anne Rogers (VN & Director at AniEd) covered the preparation of patients for elective orthopaedic surgeries. The double act of Dr James Hunt (Pet Pain Relief, UK) and Dr Claire Corridan (Great Expectations & UCD) talked about both the pharmacological and behavioural strategies we can use to handle painful and frightened cases attending for orthopaedic procedures in practice. Dr Siobhan Menzies (Holistic Pet NI) explored post operative management to include analgesic and rehabilitation protocols, to improve compliance and surgical success rates.

For more photos and feedback from the event, visit www.ivba.ie

7 views0 comments

#pets "enjoying" Covid 19?


Our return to “Normality” after Covid 19 Restrictions

- how to minimise the negative impact on our pets.


The gradual lifting of the Covid 19 Restrictions will help us to slowly acclimatise our dogs & cats to the changes in their own daily routines.

Dogs acquired during the restrictions (either new puppies or newly adopted dogs) will require additional understanding from their owners, as they do not have the experience or memories of being home alone for extended periods from before Covid 19 to help them re-adjust more easily.

Our cats will have been impacted more by the change in our routines, as opposed to restriction of their own. It is important to consider that you have been around to play. Feed or open doors for your cat, on demand, whilst you have been at home. Sudden removal of these “benefits” may unsettle your cat, so gradual readjustments of normal “service” will help reduce the resultant stress for them.

It is also worth being mindful of the effect of people wearing masks over their faces, which has and will become more of the norm. Face masks reduce our pets’ ability to read our faces and expressions, and as a result, may induce a fearful or wary response. If members of your household wear face masks at home periodically and ideally reinforced with provision of positive experiences (play, food rewards or praise) it will help to familiarise this as the new norm and nothing to be fearful of.

Every dog or cat is an individual and so, they will vary in how they cope with the adjustments but there are 3 main areas for you to consider in helping them adjust with minimal stress or disruption detailed below:

Dogs:

Individual Preferences

Think about what makes your dog happy? Is it a comfy bed beside the window, a food dispensing puzzle toy, listening to classical music or the radio? Dogs who bark or are destructive in our absence tend to demand attention (good & bad) and are perhaps more likely to receive help. A quiet dog, who chooses to stay beside the door, ignoring food or treats until you return, may be just as upset, if not more so. If in doubt, video them home alone so you know how they are coping without you.

Encourage Independence

Independence is an important life skill for every puppy or dog to learn. Help them to practice while you are still at home by separating yourself from them for short periods, in a different area of the house or garden and use doors, baby gates or distance to remove your attention. Remember to reward calm behaviours or when they are happily entertaining themselves so that they know this activity makes you happy too!

Mental & Physical Exercise

Remember dogs think day to day not week to week. Dogs have individual physical, social and mental needs (dependent on age, breed & health) which, as their owner, you need to provide every day. Regular walks they enjoy; meeting doggy friends in the park, with a dog walker or at daycare; and using their noses and brain power to find food treats on a treasure hunt or from a puzzle toy will help them to relax when they are home alone.

Cats:

Individual Preferences

Think about what makes your cat happy? Is it lying on a window sill or cat tree with a nice view of the garden or street outside; playing with a food dispensing puzzle toy, or scratching their favourite cat post or scratching mat? Cats who raid the kitchen or are destructive in our absence tend to demand attention (good & bad). A quiet cat, who chooses to hide or lie around all day doing nothing may be just as upset, if not more so. If in doubt, video them home alone so you know how they are coping without you.

Encourage Independence

Independence is an important life skill for every kitten or cat to learn. Help them to practice while you are still at home by separating yourself from them for short periods, in a different area of the house or garden and use doors or physical distance to remove your attention. If they vocalise for food or attention you must ensure you do not reward this. Instead you reward calm behaviours when they are relaxed or happily entertaining themselves so that they know this activity makes you happy too!

Mental & Physical Exercise

Cats have individual physical, social and mental needs (dependant on age, breed & health) which, as their owner, you need to provide every day. Exercise, in or outdoors, regular play and/or training sessions, food treats from a treasure hunt or puzzle toy, will help them to relax when they are home alone. Cats who spend time indoors enjoy climbing onto shelves, cat trees or furniture and finding cosy places to hide or have a nap. Use your imagination and “think cat”- your feline friend will thank you for it!

Important Note: if you have any concerns about how your pet is adapting then please contact your vet and they will help you get the appropriate advice, training or behavioural support that you need.

Copyright: Dr CL Corridan BVMS PhD MRCVS May 29th 2020
0 views0 comments
During the Covid-19 Lockdown a number of issues have arisen which are a cause for alarm and concern for the welfare of dogs in Ireland:


  • Existing family dogs have become accustomed to having us at home

  • There has been a 42% increase in people acquiring a new dog

  • Theft of dogs from people's homes and gardens is on the rise

  • The price of "pedigree puppies" has sky rocketed

  • The veterinary clinic has become 'an even scarier place!'

  • Opportunities for normal dog socialisation and training have been put on hold


I have spoken to a number of friends, family and colleagues who have told me they have had great difficulty sourcing the type of dog they want. Those who would normally be working full time, away from home, are rejected by many of the rescue organisations and are either trying to source dogs online or resorting to charities importing dogs from elsewhere.

Dog breeders can pretty much 'name their price' because puppies are in such great demand. Even breeds which I would normally consider to be popular and abundant, are fetching prices over 2000 Euros. What is going to happen when life, hopefully, goes back to normal. Will these puppies learn to cope with being home alone for extended periods of time. Will there be a sudden rise in both supply and demand for dog walkers, doggy daycare or day boarding? Generally, by the time a client makes contact with me, they have already asked the vet, the pet shop, watched a multitude of You Tube videos on dog training and behaviour and have maybe enlisted a 'real' dog trainer locally, who may or may not have put a choke chain and/or electric shock collar on their dog- and they wonder why it is getting worse rather than better?! People close to me, both geographically and personally are genuinely terrified that their dog or dogs are going to be stolen. Puppies might be sold on and entire adult dogs might be used to supply the illegal puppy market- scary stuff! Those of you who know me professionally, know that I am a great advocate for low stress handling, in every area of veterinary practice. Car park medicine (collecting pets from their owners car and conducting our clinical examinations and treatment in the absence of the pet owner), use of protective clothing and the continuous use of face masks, as well as frayed nerves in veterinary clinic staff, as a result of all of the above, has done very little to progress our move towards lowering anxiety levels for veterinary patients and their owners. The upshot is that hopefully, things are about to start to improve and we can start undoing some of the behavioural and welfare damage caused by the past 15 months and start safe guarding the welfare of Irelands' dogs again. If you have any thoughts or questions about any of the above, please contact me on greatexpectationsvet@gmail.com or visit our discussion forum Forum | Mysite (greatexpectationsvet.com) Thanks, Claire

0 views0 comments