One of the main reasons that is given for the poor level of behavioural medicine advice offered by veterinary practices is a lack of time. Accurately diagnosing behavioural conditions and advising on appropriate management and treatment approaches does indeed take time. However, there is a still an important role for the general practice in the field of behavioural medicine. The ten-minute general practice consultation does not offer enough time to thoroughly investigate behavioural cases, but it is an ideal starting point. If the time is used wisely a great deal of very important advice can be given during the consultation, both in terms of preventative behavioural advice and guidance as to where to find suitable assistance with existing issues. Coupling this with veterinary nurse clinics, for adolescent pets, fearful and anxious patients, overweight animals and others, emotional intelligence classes for puppies, information evenings for kitten owners and a beneficial relationship with a suitably qualified animal behaviourist, will enable practices to offer a comprehensive and effective behavioural medicine service.
Sarah qualified from Bristol University and spent four years in mixed general practice before setting up Behavioural Referrals Veterinary Practice in 1992. She is an RCVS and European Veterinary Specialist in Behavioural Medicine. Sarah is an External Lecturer in small animal behavioural medicine at Liverpool University and a Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist under the ASAB accreditation scheme. She sees clinical cases across North West England. In 2002 Sarah became a Founding Diplomate of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioural Medicine (formerly the ECVBM-CA) and served as President from 2002 to 2008. She is currently Treasurer of the College. Sarah has a special interest in the interplay between behaviour and physical illness in dogs and cats and particularly in the role of pain. Sarah promotes the recognition of emotional health issues in companion animals and the role of the veterinary profession in safeguarding the welfare of animals in this context. She lectures extensively at home and abroad on behavioural topics and is an author, co-author and editor of several books including Behavioural Medicine for Small Animals and Feline Behavioural Health and Welfare, both published by Elsevier.