Signs and Symptoms
How do I know if I need a behavior veterinarian? Behavior vets have the unique ability to treat with both medication and their extensive knowledge of behavior modification techniques. Our doctors see pets with a variety of behavior issues, including:
- Aggression to people and other animals
- Fear of noises, people, other animals, storms, and/or walks
- Problems when home alone
- Excessive barking or meowing
- House soiling and litter box issues
- Compulsive disorder
- Self-injurious behavior
- Puppy assessment consults and socialization plans
- Preparation for major household changes (such as moving, a baby’s arrival, etc)
- Senior pet behaviors (sleep issues, disorientation, lack of interaction, etc)
How do I know if I need a training or behavior veterinarian?
If your veterinarian or trainer referred you to a Behavior Veterinarian, you need one. Note, you do not need a referral to schedule an appointment. At a Behavior Assessment appointment, if it seems like your pet needs a trainer rather than a Veterinary Behaviorist, we’ll be sure to refer you to an excellent trainer. We’ll call them, introduce your pet’s situation to them, and make sure they are on board and comfortable with the case. Or, simply call us. We are happy to help you assess what would be best for your pet.
How does it work?
There are few initial steps to get you on the track to better behavior. Please keep in mind animal behavior is intricately associated with family dynamics. Changing behavior in your pet sometimes requires changing our habits as a family.
|Step 1||Initial Assessment And Behavioral Therapy Plan|
|Step 2||Implement the Behavioral Therapy Plan at home and participate in Behavioral Therapy Appointments with our specially trained Behavior Technicians|
|Step 3||Follow up and Reassessment with your Behavior Vet|
Step 1 – Initial Assessment and Behavioral Therapy Plan
We see your family to assess the causes of your pet’s behavior and create a comprehensive treatment plan you can safely implement at home. We will discuss our medical evaluation, additional medical diagnostics and/or treatments, nutrition, behavioral therapy, appropriate handling tools, supplement options, and sometimes medications, While your Behavior Vet is creating your pet’s plan with you, your Behavior Technician will help evaluate your pet’s response to specific triggers and behavioral therapy options. After your appointment, your Behavior Vet will personally reach out to your veterinarian to discuss additional diagnostics as well as the current plan. She will also send a summary to you and your vet.
Step 2 – Implement the Treatment Plan
The Behavior Vet team is here to guide you through implementation whether your pet is in our Day Therapy Program, seeing a Behavior Tech for an At-Home Behavioral Therapy Appointment, or if you are working on your own. We will encourage you, change the plan if needed, and help you get robust and efficient behavior change all while keeping an eye on the best medicine and your budget.
Step 3 –Reassessment
Meet with your Behavior Vet 2-3 times for the best success. These are generally scheduled every 4-8 weeks, depending on a patient’s individual needs. Some families need more frequent reassessments, especially if they are adding a medication to their pets’ treatment plan or want more involved behavior therapy assistance. Reassessments can be done at your home, in clinic, or by phone/video chat (depending on the situation). Plan to me working with your Behavior Team at some level for 3-6 months depending on your goals and your pet’s progress.
Dr. E’Lise Christensen, DVM (Dr. C)
She is a board-certified veterinary behaviorist and an international lecturer and author. As the only board-certified veterinary behaviorist in Colorado, Dr. C and her team are sought out for a variety of behavioral challenges. Animal behavior captivated her interests in high school where began training animals for pet therapy at a local substance abuse facility. Her interests led her to get her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 2002.
While in veterinary school she researched separation anxiety in shelter dogs, was an assistant trainer at an animal shelter, and studied under several board-certified veterinary behaviorists. Dr. C began a rotating small animal internship at several veterinary clinics, include a feline-only practice in Arlington, VA. She entered the Behavior Residency Program at Cornell University in 2004. During her residency she researched the behavior of dogs, cats, and horses and treated behavioral problems in a number of different species.
Her most cited research evaluates the efficacy of canine temperament tests in the shelter system. Dr. Christensen is a contributing author to articles in Dog Watch, Cat Watch, Cat Fancy, Dog Training Solutions, Real Simple, Newsday, and various other print media. Her contributions to understanding pet behavior include:
- Anxiety, phobias and stress
- Urinating and defecating in improper places
She has been a contributor and guest on Foxnews.com’s “Pet Health” and “Studio B with Shepard Smith”, ABC News’ “Nightline,” and many other radio programs, television programs, and newscasts. She enjoys lecturing internationally on an array of behavior topics including, but not limited to, small animal behavior, public health and animal sheltering topics. Dr. C is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. She is a member of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) Speaker’s Bureau, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and The Association For Force-Free Pet Industry Professionals.
Ariel Fagen, DVM received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 2013. While there, she founded and was president of the Tufts University Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. She also studied with Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist and anesthesiologist, and with the Behavior Service at UC Davis. After veterinary school, Dr. Fagen was accepted into the prestigious internship program at Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital where she received in-depth, post-graduate training in emergency medicine, general practice, oncology, neurology, internal medicine and surgery.
She is currently completing her American College of Veterinary Behavior residency to become board-certified. In 2011, she traveled to Nepal where she developed and implemented training protocols for teaching elephants to participate in their own medical care. She received the 2011 Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine Best Field Research Award and the 2012 American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior Student Excellence Award in Applied Animal Behavior Research. Her other research focused on the use of an anti-anxiety medication in patients undergoing orthopedic procedures and assessing the effect of music on stress levels in shelter dogs at the Denver Dumb Friends League. Dr. Fagen is a passionate and accomplished presenter.
Some of her favorite topics are feline house soiling and reading dog body language. Like Dr. C, she happily accepts media and speaking opportunities that support the human animal bond and scientific knowledge of animal behavior. Dr. Fagen is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Colorado Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.