The impact environmental variance in waiting rooms has on the expression of fear in canine patients

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Canine patients commonly express fear-related behaviour while in practice. Prior research predominately focuses on the efficacy of interventions, such as dog appeasing pheromone, often without consideration for surroundings. This study aimed to identify and evaluate the influence environmental factors in the waiting room may have on the expression of fear-related behaviours in canine patients visiting a veterinary practice. Convenience sampling was used to test a canine sample population of 54 dogs (aged 1–10 years old) across 5 different practices. Patient behaviour was observed pre- and post-consultation during the period of time patients were in the waiting room. Analysis of these data demonstrated a significant reduction in fear during the post-consultation phase (Z=-3.821, P<0.001). Environmental aspects of each practice were scored and analysed against behavioural data, demonstrating weak negative correlation (rs=-0.27, P=0.050) between environmental scores and pre-consultation behaviour scores. A weak positive correlation (rs=0.28, P=0.035) between slippery flooring and increased fear was also found. Negative aspects of the environment such as flooring, noise and footfall should be considered and manipulated where possible to promote positive patient experiences. Further research should use a stratified sampling method to ensure variance between patients and practice designs. This research has provided proof of concept for this methodology and field of enquiry, providing scope for further research of this kind on a larger sample population of practices and patients.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Veterinary Nurse
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2023


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