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VCA University Animal Hospital

2728 Woodlawn Drive
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: 808-988-2111


Be sure to bring any relevant medical records or information to your first appointment. Your veterinary behaviorist may require copies of any recent medical tests, imaging studies, x-rays, or laboratory panels. You also can do your part to maximize your pet's recovery by strictly adhering to the recommendations of your veterinary team for the scheduling of any follow up appointments.

Routine behavior problems can frequently be handled by your general practitioner veterinarian. The conditions listed below, however, frequently require the attention of a specialist.
- House soiling or house training problems
- Litter box refusal or rejection
- Destructiveness
- Aggressiveness toward people, including children
- Aggressive conflicts between housemates
- Nipping and unruly puppies or kittens
- Difficulties introducing new pets
- Separation anxiety syndrome
- Fears and phobias
- Compulsive behaviors
- Seizure-related behavior problems
- Geriatric behavior problems in aging cats and dogs

Just like a psychiatrist, veterinarians who specialize in veterinary behavior acquire additional, intensive training to become a specialist. Prestigious specialty status is granted by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB). There are only a few dozen veterinary specialists in all of North America. A veterinarian who has received this specialty status will list the initials DACVB (Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists) after his or her veterinary degree. The word -Diplomate- typically means the specialist has achieved the following:
- Obtained a traditional 8-year veterinary degree (four years of college plus four years of veterinary school).
- Usually has completed a one-year internship in small animal medicine and surgery.
- Completed an additional residency in veterinary behavior at a university veterinary hospital.
- Completed the credentialing application process established by the ACVB, which includes publishing credits, case reports, and a resume.
- Passed a rigorous, 20 hour written examination conducted over 2 days.
After completing and passing all of the above, his or her peers recognize the veterinarian as a board certified specialist in veterinary behavior. As you can see, when your pet needs the specialized care of a veterinary behaviorist, the intensive training and additional education will provide you and your pet with the best treatment and the greatest chance of successfully resolving the behavior problem you are trying to overcome. Forming a team with an experienced veterinary behaviorist is the best way to deal with a misbehaving pet.

Your veterinary behaviorist will advise your veterinarian of any recommended treatment and your veterinarian will continue to be involved as part of your pet's total veterinary health care team. Your general practitioner veterinarian will still oversee all aspects of your pet's care, but with the added, specialized input of a veterinary behaviorist. For example, if a veterinary behaviorist discovers that your pet has thyroid disease, this clinical diagnosis is relayed immediately to your general practitioner veterinarian, who will treat your pet's thyroid disease. The veterinary behaviorist will also give you a treatment plan to follow that will help to resolve the behavioral problems your pet exhibited that were associated with the discovered medical condition.

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