Here is the ultimate guide to understanding FAS in pets

During their visit to a veterinary clinic, several pets experience fear, anxiety, and stress, also known as FAS. It can cause pets to act out, show behavioral changes, or refuse to receive veterinary treatment. Keep reading to learn the signs of FAS in pets and how you can deal with it.

FAS: What Is It?

  • According to the veterinary behavior community, cats and dogs can experience fear, anxiety, and stress (FAS) during visits to the clinic. Pet owners often avoid taking their pets for regular veterinary visits because they think their pets dislike and fear the visits. This can be problematic because, without regular check-ups, veterinarians may be unable to catch early signs of illness and disease in pets.

However, many veterinarians have made their clinics more pet-friendly and calming to reduce FAS in pets. It can occur at various stages before and during the veterinary visit. Some pets experience FAS during travel to the clinic, even before arriving. Some pets associate car rides with the frightening experience of visiting the vet clinic. They show signs of anxiety every time they travel.

Impact of FAS on Pet Health

  • FAS can have negative impacts on pets in several ways. Research shows that FAS interferes with a pet’s recovery, contributes to long-term health issues, and makes therapy difficult. In addition, when pets experience FAS, physiological and behavioral changes associated with fear and anxiety are triggered.

During veterinary visits, the following stressors can trigger FAS in pets, including:

  • Pain
  • Odors
  • Noise
  • Pheromones
  • Hunger and thirst
  • Strangers
  • Separation from their owners

When faced with a situation that they feel unprepared for, pets experience a stress response, also known as the “fight or flight” response. This response is triggered whether the threat is real or perceived. The stress response can cause physical and emotional discomfort for pets, hindering their recovery and making veterinary therapy more challenging.

Signs of FAS

  • It is crucial to recognize signs of FAS to identify when pets may be experiencing stress and anxiety during veterinary visits. Two phases can characterize an immediate stress response in a pet with FAS: immediate signs that appear suddenly and delayed signs that occur later during future visits.

Some common signs of FAS in pets include panting, fear-based aggression, an increased heart rate, a decreased ability to feel pain, PTSD at future visits, etc. If you notice these signs in your pet during a veterinary visit, it may be a sign that they are experiencing FAS and may require extra attention and care to help them feel more comfortable and relaxed.

Tips To Make Pets More Comfortable

  • fas in petsThere are several ways to help a pet experiencing FAS during veterinary visits. Before leaving for the vet, you can condition your pet to enjoy traveling in the car and try to avoid associating car rides with negative experiences. Your veterinarian can suggest how to help your pet adjust to car rides. Once you arrive at the veterinary clinic, the veterinary team can ensure your pet has a FAS-free experience.

Every pet is unique, so the veterinarian will advise on the best handling and examination techniques for your pet. This may include swaddling or using a sedative to help your pet feel more comfortable during the visit. A veterinary care team will work with you to determine the best procedures to help reduce or even eliminate FAS from your pet’s appointments. Reducing FAS in pets during veterinary visits can help them feel more comfortable, leading to a better overall experience and improved health outcomes.

At Autumn Trails and Veterinary Center, we provide comprehensive pet care by ensuring a FAS-free experience. We have the experience and technology to handle all your pets’ healthcare needs. We are located in Charlottesville, VA. Appointments are conveniently available. Call us at 434-971-9800.