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Golden Retriever Lifetime Study

Update v16-3

Golden Retriever Lifetime Study Update v16-3

Fear Free

the next breakthrough in veterinary medicine

By Sharon Albright, DVM, CCRT, Study Veterinarian

The next advancement in veterinary medicine will be the consideration of a pet’s emotional well-being in addition to their physical health. That is the goal of the new Fear Free initiative, managed by the American Animal Hospital Association. The Fear Free Certification Program aims to educate the veterinary profession on methods to reduce fear, stress, and anxiety in pets and their owners allowing for better veterinary care. The self-paced online course provides eight hours of continuing education and certification in Fear Free veterinary practice, valid for three years. Additional benefits include podcasts, a Facebook group to share ideas, and an online toolkit with downloadable resources.

In the 2011 Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study, 38% of dog owners reported that their dog hates going to the veterinarian and 26% reported that just thinking about the veterinary visit is stressful! (1) (The numbers are even worse for cats.) The Fear Freesm initiative recommends gentle techniques and a considerate approach toward a pet and its owner(s). If the veterinary visit is more pleasant for everyone involved, owners are more likely to bring their pet for preventive care and will not delay treatment for illness or injury, the veterinary care team will enjoy a more rewarding career with less turn-over and physical injury, and most importantly, the pet’s physical and mental health will benefit.

Because participants in the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study are exposed to significant veterinary care throughout their lifetime, Morris Animal Foundation has partnered with the Fear Freesm initiative to improve the experience of our golden retriever participants. Scholarships for the

Fear Freesm Certification Program were provided to five veterinarians in each of the five regions of the United States used to create the study cohort, benefiting forty-three study dogs in 19 different states. All veterinarians registered for the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study are eligible to receive a 50% discount on course tuition (by entering promotion code MAFIN50 at registration), potentially creating a better and safer veterinary clinic experience for all 3000+ enrolled dogs. With better participant and veterinarian visit satisfaction, the quality and quantity of biologic samples collected for the study will also improve. Our hope is that encouraging the veterinary profession and owners to reduce anxiety triggers at the veterinary clinic will improve the health and well-being of all pets.

(1) Bayer HealthCare LLC, Animal Health Division, Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study, 2011.

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