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Taylor Kirby-Madden

DVM, Behavior
Dr. Kirby-Madden
Staff Veterinarian
Dr. Kirby-Madden

At a Glance

Practicing Since:


Board Certified:

American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) Resident

Specialties Include:

Low-stress handling techniques

Dr. Kirby-Madden has a special interest and wide range of experience in behavioral medicine and is currently an American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB) Resident. She started her career working with animals at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, helping to design and implement behavior modification plans for dogs and cats with aggression, anxiety, and other behavioral special needs. She also worked as a dog trainer for several years before attending The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine. While in veterinary school, she was President of the student chapter of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior and won a prestigious research award to examine the effects of environmental enrichment in shelter dogs. She presented her research findings at the 2013 meeting of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, and the findings were subsequently published in the April 2014 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Dr. Kirby-Madden was the staff veterinarian on the Behavior Service at the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston until she decided to open her own practice closer to home on Cape Cod and join the staff at VCA South Shore (Weymouth) Animal Hospital. She has lectured at Angell Animal Medical Center, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and continues to offer her expertise to professionals. Dr. Kirby-Madden is a Fear Free Certified professional and is enthusiastic about sharing how to implement low-stress handling techniques in hospitals, shelters, or at home. She loves helping people understand the "why" of their pet's behavior, as well as designing individualized, workable plans to help improve quality of life for pets and their people.


Undesirable behaviors negatively impact the relationship we have with our pets. The goal of our Behavior Service is to create a better life for you and your pet by preventing and treating behavior problems using compassionate, scientific methodology that nurtures the human-animal bond.
Common problems addressed: Anxiety, phobias (storms, fireworks, travel, etc.), aggression, inter-dog aggression, separation anxiety, compulsive behaviors, global fear, resource guarding, leash reactivity, litter box issues in cats

During the 1-2 hour behavior consultation, Dr. Kirby-Madden will review the pet's history, discuss behavior diagnoses, provide a comprehensive treatment plan and behavior modification program, and address any pet owner questions. Behavior consultations are available every other Monday.

Our behavior consultation client questionnaire can be found at VCAsouthshorebehavior.com. In order for Dr. Kirby-Madden to fully evaluate each patient, this form will need to be filled out prior to a pet’s appointment. 

What Is A Veterinary Behaviorist?

A veterinary behaviorist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of behavior problems in pets. Veterinary behaviorists use behavior modification techniques, environmental and lifestyle changes, and medication (when appropriate) in order to manage behavior problems. As trained veterinarians, veterinary behaviorists also have the medical knowledge to determine whether an underlying medical condition is responsible for your pet’s behavioral change. Medical problems almost always have behavioral consequences, but not every behavior change is due to a medical problem. Veterinary behaviorists are uniquely trained to recognize and treat both. Your pet’s primary care veterinarian can diagnose and treat many routine behavior problems; however, many behavior issues require the care of a doctor who has had specialized, intensive training in veterinary behavior in order to provide the very best outcome for your pet. The treatment of behavior cases requires a very careful accounting of the pet's past history, both medical and behavioral, and his or her current lifestyle. It is important to really understand your pet's emotional and psychological needs and deficits in order to gain insight into the solutions to the issues that concern you.

What is the Difference between a Veterinary Behaviorist and a Trainer?

Veterinary behavior treatment goes far above and beyond basic obedience training. Trainers commonly teach commands such as “sit” or “stay.” To a veterinary behaviorist, however, teaching commands may be just a small part of a larger treatment program designed to address a pet’s behavior issue, whether it be aggression or house soiling. While a trainer’s primary goal is to get a pet simply to act a certain way, a veterinary behaviorist’s primary goal is to understand why a pet misbehaves in order to create a personalized, comprehensive treatment plan to address the underlying cause of the behavior problem. Addressing the fundamental reason for misbehavior, rather than attempting to “train away” the problem, typically leads to longer-lasting results. Veterinary behaviorists are qualified to provide you with the correct diagnosis and state-of-the-art treatment of your pet’s behavior problem. A veterinary behaviorist is also best able to determine whether your pet may benefit from behavior-modifying medication or if a medical problem may be a contributing factor. While some non-veterinary behaviorists and trainers are experienced and educated, there are others who possess no formal education or proper understanding of animal behavior and may utilize unproven, outdated or even inhumane training techniques to achieve short-term results. By consulting and working with a veterinary behaviorist, your pet will be receiving the highest standard of care from a veterinary professional.

VCA South Shore (Weymouth) Animal Hospital

595 Columbian Street

South Weymouth, MA 02190

Main: 781-337-6622

Fax: 781-337-0069

Hospital Hours:

    Mon-Sun: Open 24 hours

Appointments Seen:

Monday - Friday, 7am-9pm
Saturday, 9am-5pm
Sunday, 9am-4pm
Emergency Services Open 24/7

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