make Vet Answers my homepage

Tips on how to better connect & communicate with your veterinary patients

Posted in Client Service @ Mar 19th 2019 - By Dr Elaine Cebuliak, Animal Wellness
Tips On How To Better Connect Communicate With Your Veterinary Patients V2 Red

“Hmmm, how long has your dog had Pancreatitis?” were the words that flew out of my mouth. “Oh, is that what Fluffy has?” said the owner. “how do you know?”

Indeed. How did I know?

Because that is certainly what the blood tests later confirmed. Of course within 20 minutes we had both an in-house lab diagnosis and a treatment plan, and I had already placed acupuncture needles during the exam to reduce the stomach pain, so it was easing off already.

Pancreas pain is specific to the area behind the rib cage, but can also have a general abdominal guarding. A hunched appearance and reluctance to move is also a feature. There is often a mild temperature elevation, which can be felt in the ears, or a rectal thermometer can give you a more accurate representation, and there is generally a history of “indulgence” from the BBQ on the weekend; so Mondays are a common day for this signalment, together with a history of some vomiting the night before.

Sometimes I have a clear picture or even some words that seem to come from the animal in question. It may come as a colourful image (too many surgeries make my dreams very vivid!).

This may sound bizarre to anyone who has never studied quantum physics, or animal communication, but think about Alexander Graham Bell, and the mobile phones we have today. How many “healers” have weird digital electronic things going off for no particular reason? (Yeah, happens to a lot of us, right?!). Think about the brain and its ability to 'transmit' in wave form- not really so far fetched, right?

Then again, perhaps it is because we, as Vets and Animal healers, have subliminally learnt some subtle behaviour body signs.

Animals talk - just not in English

This is part of the power of holistic medicine. It is also how we learn to “listen”.

Animals talk. It might not be in English, but it is definitely possible to understand their Doglish/Felinish. They give off all kinds of signs, and communicate very well. Learning their body language is part of listening. Here are some cues to look for either calm, or anxiety/pain behaviour.

Basic behavioural clues that cats and dogs can use to tell us when they are distressed.


  • Lip/nose licking
  • Yawning- uneasy
  • Tail down and still
  • Tense face and body
  • Wide eyes, big pupils
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Lick tongue in and out quickly
  • Look at you out of corner of eye
  • Weight over back legs and ready to run
  • Ears back and eyelids drawn back (whites)
  • Head down and paw up = worried (teeth out of way)


  • Ears back
  • Vocalising, restless
  • Tense face and body
  • Wide eyes, big pupils
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Tail down and still (dull/painful)
  • Tail flicking side to side (irritated)
  • Hunched over posture (pain/fear)
  • Look out of the corner of their eye
  • Head hung low, eyes dull/squinting (pain)

Behavioural cues that indicate that a pet is relaxed and calm.


  • Ear up and forward, but relaxed
  • Ears slightly to the side, with eyes sleepy/closed
  • Tail up and wagging
  • Stance is relaxed or siting comfortably and possibly leaning into you
  • Mouth relaxed


  • Ears up and forward
  • Eyes sleepy/closed or open, with small pupils
  • Tail still trailing out behind them or wrapped around their body
  • Stance relaxed or sitting with feet tucked underneath them
  • Paws kneading
  • Rolling onto their back, showing their stomach
  • Whiskers back in relaxed position
  • Extending and curling its toes
  • Nose rubbing or head butting
  • Purring (however keep in mind that this can also be a sign of stress/pain)

As a qualified Veterinarian of many years, with training in Reiki, Remedial Massage therapy, Acupuncture, and Naturopathy amongst other things, it's possible that my brain has become more of a quantum machine, or my intuition based on past experience is more attuned to “listening” to the animal.

My best friend, the Miggles dog and I certainly have a connection - I can “think” him into the room for a cuddle or project the thought of getting some cheese and peak his interest in nanosecond time! He is also very compliant on the Stand Up Paddle board, moves into position without request.

Happy communicating! Hug your pet - if they ask for it!

About Elaine

BVSc MACVSc dentistry, Dip Ed, Dip Rem Massage, Cert Chinese Herbs, Cert IVAS Qual Acupuncture, CMAVA, Adv Dip Naturopathy, Adv Dip Herbal Med, Adv Dip Nutrition

Elaine has lectured in Acupuncture and Dentistry internationally and throughout Australia. She has also travelled extensively throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, Bali, The Cook Islands, and India where she performed volunteer Veterinary work at the latter three locations.

After moving to Brisbane in 1996, Elaine performed locum work at many practises around Brisbane and even built and sold a new surgery in Brisbane. She presently performs referral work, teaching, running workshops and locums under her business name “Animal Wellness” in Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide.

Animal Wellness Website  |  Animal Wellness Facebook Page  |  Naturopathvet Website


There are currently no comments.

Add Your Comments

All comments will be submitted to the administrator for approval.

To prevent spam, please type in the code found in the red box to verify you are a real person.
  Required fields

Blog Categories


Recent Blog Entries


Tag Cloud

follow us on twitter