Preparing for the Consultation

Do I need a referral from a private practice veterinarian in order to be able to make an appointment with the Behavior Service?

You do not need a referral; however, we highly suggest that your primary veterinarian continue to take part in all aspects of your pet’s health and well-being. Dr. Malamed will provide your veterinarian with a full written report of your pet’s visit.

How long is the appointment with Dr. Malamed?

The initial appointment is typically 1.5 to 2 hours but this may depend on the complexity of the case.

What are your fees?

Appointment fees are based on Dr. Malamed’s expertise, individualized treatment plan, length of appointment, and telephone follow-up, and are comparable to those of other veterinary specialists. Please contact the Dr. Malamed for her fee schedule.

Is behavior medicine covered by pet insurance?

There are some insurance companies that provide coverage. Currently, Trupanion provides the most extensive coverage compared to other insurance companies. Trupanion will cover 90% of actual charges and with no payout limits for behavioral modification, training, and therapy providedby a licensed Veterinary Behaviorist for the treatment of a symptomatic behavioral illness. This includes coverage for the costs of prescription medications or supplements. For more information, please call Trupanion Customer Care (24/7) at 80-569-7913 or visit their website http://trupanion.com.

Why can’t I get free advice over the telephone?

Since Dr. Malamed is a Veterinarian it is illegal for her to make a diagnosis and give treatment recommendations over the telephone. Dr. Malamed must see the patient and obtain a history in order to make a diagnosis.

Will the clinician prescribe medication for my pet’s behavior problem?

Medications are never the sole answer for an animal’s behavior problems. Science based behavior modification techniques are critical to changing the animal’s response; however, Dr. Malamed may prescribe medications in addition to behavior therapy if she determines that it is necessary to treat your pet.

Who should be at the appointment?

All family members should make an attempt to be at the appointment, so that all of the involved people can give input into the history of your pet’s behavior problem, as well as be present for the discussion of the treatment of the problem.

If your pet’s problem is fighting with another household pet, we ask that no more than two animals be present at the appointment without prior approval from Dr. Malamed. A videotape of their interactions reveals a lot about their problem (see below on how to set up the video sessions).

What should I do prior to my appointment?

There are some things that you can do to help prepare for your appointment. First and foremost, exercise safety precautions if your pet is aggressive. Do not put your pet into situations which are potentially dangerous to you, your pet, other people or animals.

You should keep a journal of the following:

  • Interactions with family members and other pets.
  • Triggers of the problem behavior.
  • What your response is to the problem behavior.
  • If your pet is urine marking or eliminating inappropriately, determine the areas and count the number of times per day or per week your pet marks or eliminates there.
  • In many situations, it is recommended that your regular veterinarian perform basic lab tests such as a Complete Blood Count (CBC), Chemistry panel and urinalysis prior to the appointment. These results should be faxed to us along with the medical records prior to your behavior appointment.
  • If it can be acquired safely, a video of the pet displaying the behavior can be extremely helpful to the evaluation process.

How do I videotape my pet?

As mentioned previously, exercise safety precautions if your pet is aggressive. Do not put your pet into situations which are potentially dangerous to any person or animal.

  • You may wish to make a videotape prior to your appointment for several reasons.
  • To visualize where your pet spends its time, so that we can better understand your particular situation.
  • To better understand your pet’s relationship with family members and other household pets, if applicable.
  • To characterize your pet’s behavior when left alone.
  • You do not need to invest in fancy, high tech video equipment. You can use a smart phone, web cam, flip phone, nanny cam or other video device.
  • Unless you are acquiring a video of your pet’s behavior when left alone, the length of the video does not need to be more than a few minutes.
  • If you videotape your pet with potential separation anxiety or compulsive disorder:

Do not videotape your pet if you feel that your pet will harm itself. Set up a videocamera in your house WHEN YOU ARE NOT HOME. Place the camera so as to visualize as much area as possible or the paricular area where your pet spends his/her time when alone.

  • If you videotape cats/dogs who are fighting with other animals in the house:
  • Again, EXERCISE SAFETY PRECAUTIONS so that there is no risk of injury to any of the animals. If necessary, they should be separated by leash and/or behind gates or glass doors. Dr. Malamed can determine quite a bit by body language between the pets.

    • If possible, videotape your pet in normal situations, such as play and resting, on walks, in your yard, and while interacting with different family members.
    • If you videotape your pet that is urinating in the house:

    Display the areas where your pet has eliminated. If possible, catch your pet in the act.