Tools of the trade: Thundershirt

thundershirtBy Kirsty Williams VN, Bayview Veterinary Surgery, Torquay, QLD.

It’s a known fact in the veterinary profession that anxious and fearful pets can be more difficult to examine and treat. Therefore it’s important for us to do what we can to ensure our patients are as calm as possible. We’ve found that the use of Thundershirts upon entry to the clinic is a great way to help our anxious and fearful patients.

What’s good about it

The Thundershirt applies gentle, constant pressure to the torso and chest of cats and dogs. It creates a sensation that’s similar to swaddling a baby and helps calm the patient.

Once the Thundershirt is applied, we find the patient usually calms down quite quickly. The Thundershirt is particularly useful for routine vaccinations, nail trimming and other less invasive consultations. While the Thundershirt may not be ideal when skin and lumps need to be checked, it is fine when administering general vaccinations and doesn’t pose any problems when taking temperature or administering oral medication. We’ve also found that animals are less likely to pant when wearing the Thundershirt so it is possible to get an accurate respiratory rate.

Use of the Thundershirt has seen a considerable decline in the need for muzzles in our practice and this often eases the minds of anxious owners. It’s a very simple and effective product.

What’s not so good

If the instructions aren’t followed correctly the Thundershirt can be applied too tightly. This can cause a problem for animals that have heart conditions or retain fluid. The Thundershirt should only be used for anxiety and when the owner or veterinary staff are present. It’s not designed to be used for extended periods as the animal can be at risk of overheating and strangulation.

Where did you get it


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