In this month’s newsletter we wanted to address one of the most common questions raised during a visit to Kirkwood Animal Hospital — or in our follow-up owner satisfaction survey:


“Why do you take my pet to the back?”

We Understand Your Love and Concern
First, we understand that your pet is a loved and integral member of the family. That’s why we’re entirely dedicated to maintaining the health, wellness and longevity of your pet. And when your pet is not in sight during a health-related visit, concerns are naturally elevated. However, there is a set of procedures that we can more safely and quickly conduct outside of the examination room. While we clearly recognize your stress level may increase, your pet’s anxiety level decreases with proper technique and speed.


Pet Family

Common Procedures
Most often, we escort your pet out of the examination room to:

  • Draw blood
  • Obtain a fecal or urine sample
  • Take a tissue sample
  • Conduct an x-ray or other diagnostic imaging
  • Provide essential or on-demand grooming (nail clipping, etc.)


While this is not a comprehensive list, it represents the vast majority of the reasons your pet makes a brief excursion from the examination room — and returns happy and delighted to see you. While the entire team is trained and experienced in all aspects of these procedures, conducting them in an environment away from the owner and filled with other veterinarians and technicians speeds the process and enhances your pet’s safety.


Pet Blood

Your Pet’s Safety
Many pets are protective of their owners — and owners are likewise protective of their pets. As a result, owners may inadvertently transmit concerns that are then “felt” by the pet. So, as an owner cringes (or faints) while the veterinarian attempts to insert a needle, your pet can react by pulling away, making sudden movements or exhibiting an aggressive response. Unfortunately, your pet could be unnecessarily injured if the needle was already inserted when your pet takes action.

When we take your pet “to the back,” they are being brought into a safer environment — filled with expertly trained professionals who love pets. Your pet is greeted warmly with high pitched voices, kisses and caresses. Depending upon the procedure, two or more technicians use their training to relax your pet, comfortably secure them, and distract them while the procedure is being conducted. Before your pet knows what happened, the procedure has safely concluded and they are being presented with a treat.

Knowledge, experience, expertise and speed are essential to reducing your pet’s stress during any procedure. Knowing that your pet is not focused upon your reaction helps everyone.


Pet Care

Additionally, some owners want to help calm or restrain their pet while a procedure is conducted in the examination room. While owners are not technicians or veterinarians, not knowing the proper restraining technique or potential pet response can result in avoidable pet injuries.

Your Safety
While our focus is clearly upon your pet, we also care about every owner. We do not want any owner to become injured via an ejected needle, a random kick or a surprise (or first time) bite. Recall, pets are faster than humans and they can trip us up as they try to evade any perceived threat, resulting in an owner fall or impact with tables, chairs or walls.

Superior Care
Simply put, we can provide superior pet care by escorting your pet from and back to the examination room. As experts, we are highly trained and we know how to calm your pet. And like many children, some pets are better behaved when away from the owner or “parent.”

Importantly, the “back” is a large, well-lit room providing immediate access to everything that your pet might require for a procedure — including a full staff of technicians. Movements are shortened, resources are directly at hand, and procedures are conducted much more quickly.

There is no magic to the “back” other than reducing pet risk and lowering your pet’s anxiety level.

“But ….”
It is not uncommon for owners to share that other animal hospitals might conduct several of the above procedures in the examination room — with the owner present. However, we follow the most current veterinary best practices to enhance the safety of all pets and owners. Conducting procedures away from owners in a larger space with added expert assistance has proven to provide better treatment and reduced pet stress.


Kirkwood Animal Hospital Veterinarian

If you have questions regarding your pet’s health or would like to know more about the “back,” please contact us or ask on your next visit. We would be delighted to answer any questions you might have.