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Dr Annabel Shepherd and Dr Sebastian Olasek have been operating Veterinary Clinics on the Sunshine Coast for over 30 years.

Dedicated to providing advanced care, Aura Veterinary Hospital is a Fear Free clinic. An innovative concept in veterinary health care, the Fear Free method significantly reduces the stress your pet experiences during their visit. Heightened stress levels can affect the physiological systems, which are measured during your visit, reducing stress in your pet helps us accurately diagnose and treat them.

Being committed to a fear free approach means we:

  • Keep each pet’s emotional as well as physical wellbeing in mind at all times realising that it is not possible to treat one without the other.

  • Learn to recognize even subtle signs of fear, anxiety and stress (FAS) in pets in our care.

  • Use our fear free skills of considerate approach, gentle control, touch gradient and others to prevent FAS whenever possible.

  • Respond immediately to signs of FAS in a pet with actions recommended in the fear free courses.

  • Continue to educate ourselves in fear free techniques and seek to elevate our professional commitment to preventing FAS.

  • Encourage our colleagues to adopt a fear free approach to relieve and prevent suffering of all animals cared for by our profession.

  • Recognise that fear free is a whole lifestyle approach to pet care and belongs in the home, the car, and places where pets receive professional services such as groomers, boarding kennels and trainers.

  • Provide our expertise and recommendations to pet owners and other pet professionals to enable them to relieve and prevent FAS in pets in their care to help improve the lives and well being of animals in every moment of their lives-not just in the vet clinic.

Being fear free affects the way we train our staff, the pheromones we use, and the music we play in our clinic. All animals are handled in a gentle, force-free manner, with plenty of treats to make the visit a more positive experience. Those who have animals that are highly stressed, are given the option to receive pre-visit pharmaceuticals before the visit to reduce any fear or anxiety. 

What are PVPs? 
Pre-visit pharmaceuticals or PVPs are medications we prescribe for anxious and fearful pets to help calm them during visits to the vet.

What medication is used?
Gabapentin for cats and a Gabapentin/Trazodone combination for dogs. Gabapentin is an anxiolytic medication and Trazodone is a mild sedative with anxiolytic properties.

Why do we use PVPs?
We use this medication to help make vet visits less scary for our patients. Coming to the clinic can be very stressful and some cats and dogs can become quite anxious and fearful. This can make examination hard for us, terrifying for the patient and upsetting for the owner. After having PVPs your pet will still be able to walk but may be a little sleepy for a few hours. We feel that the benefits of a happier, calmer pet are worth a bit of extra sleep time.

The first dose we give is considered a trial dose. The next dose may be adjusted according to how they respond to the first dose. The medication can be mixed with a small amount of tasty food if required. PVPs need to be given 2-3 hours prior to the vet visit. Very fearful pets can have a loading dose the night before the visit as well as the dose 2-3 hours before the visit.

Happy Dog



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