Photo: Caitlin Taylor.

VMC introduces clinical behaviour service

The WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre is adding animal behaviour to its family of clinical services available for animal owners and referring veterinarians.

Animal behaviour, the hospital's newest clinical service, features Dr. Karen Machin — a familiar face at the veterinary college and in the Saskatoon area. Machin is an associate professor in the WCVM’s Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences who is also a resident in animal behaviour and pain.

With guidance from a board-certified behavioural specialist in Ontario, Machin is gaining experience with dogs, cats and other species while providing behavioural services at the VMC. Her work is in high demand: only seven board-certified behavioural specialists practise in Canada (one in Western Canada).

While many pets that are in chronic pain will show signs of discomfort, Machin says owners and veterinarians may not be aware of the signs.

“I want to teach veterinary students how to recognize fear, stress, anxiety and how to mitigate it so that they are less likely to be injured and their careers will be long lasting,” says Machin, who brings years of experience and research in animal behaviour and pain control to her new role.

“It's about helping people too, so they can have a good relationship over the life of that animal. Undesirable behaviour can be about training, but it can also be related to other things including underlying medical problems, pain or mental illness.” 

The VMC’s clinical behaviour service provides consultation services for dogs, cats and other species including horses, birds, exotic animals and pocket pets. Veterinarians are welcome to refer their clients for this service. 

Click here to visit the Clinical Behaviour service page.