A rescue dog has overcome its fear of the vets after its owner bought it a stethoscope.

Riley, a German shepherd-collie cross, would shake and growl whenever he was taken into Westway Veterinary Group’s Birtley branch by owner Nina McGough.

Stephanie and Riley
Vet Stephanie Veitch with Riley.

His behaviour stemmed from the fact he was terrified after enduring a tough start in life when he faced being put down at a council dog pound in Lancashire.

However, with the help of vet Stephanie Veitch, the five-year-old slowly lost his fear of the surgery, but there was one final phobia to overcome – being examined with a stethoscope.

Facing his fears

So his owner bought a red stethoscope – identical to the vet’s equipment – and for two months gently introduced it to Riley. Now, he rolls over on his back, has his heart examined by Dr Veitch and is rewarded with a treat for his bravery.

She said: “Riley is a very nervous dog. If a door slams in the house, he cowers under the bed.

“When the stethoscope arrived through the post, we started teaching him there was nothing to be scared of. We let him sniff it and gradually introduced it to his play and giving him treats.

“The big test was going into the surgery, so we took his stethoscope with him and played for a while. Steph then got her own stethoscope. He lay down, rolled over, had his heart checked and then a treat. He was full of love for her afterwards.”

Relaxed and happy

Dr Veitch added: “It’s a very heart-warming case because the owner has put in so much effort, and it has really paid off as Riley really enjoyed himself the last time he came into the surgery.

“The growling was just down to fear because when he’s relaxed he is a lovely dog, who loves to play.”

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

1 Comment on "Dog overcomes vet phobia after owner buys stethoscope"

Notify of

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
4 months 29 days ago

What a lovely story about a devoted dog owner,
trying to eliminate a strong fear.
Riley has had faith in his owner and it paid off
for Riley.
Well done to the both of them.


related content

Zoetis has launched Sileo, a novel oromucosal gel designed to help calm pets suffering noise phobias.

3 mins

The WSAVA plans to release new guidelines aimed at improving the standard of veterinary dentistry around the world.

5 mins

In a world where consumers seem to have an awful lot of rights and businesses precious few, where do practices stand when they buy products and services that subsequently fail to live up to the promises made? Adam Bernstein explains some of the do’s and don’ts of buying for business.

15 mins

Visitors to Zoetis’ stand at London Vet Show 2016 will discover how advances in technology will change the future practice of veterinary medicine.

3 mins

 James Barnett reports on this year’s gathering of marine mammal scientists and vets, which was held on the Portuguese island, with research details by some of the attendees.

52 mins

Isabel Manning advises on approaching a poultry consultation in practice, to help get the most out of the process.

27 mins