Using the technique of mindfulness I have overcome an aversion to administering intranasal kennel cough vaccinations.
Along with many other vets I really did not like giving intranasal vaccinations to dogs. It was always a struggle in my mind and often in practice. If I saw that a kennel cough vaccination was booked on my list for the day, I would find myself imagining the struggle that it would be to administer it and this lead inevitably to becoming anxious by the time the patient presented.
The Mindful Practice
I decided that there must be a more satisfactory approach to giving the intranasal vaccines so I started to focus on the process.
The initial step was to stop paying attention to the negative thoughts of how disastrous the consultation was going to be. I am sure by overthinking the past bad experiences my anxiety levels climbed and these were picked up on by my patients who became nervous in turn making the whole process more difficult from the start.
Secondly, I focussed on the actual process. What was it that the dogs did not like? I realised that it was the placement of the applicator in the nostril and holding the muzzle tightly that were the biggest problems.
By paying close attention to every intranasal vaccination that I gave, I have been able to develop a more successful technique. Firstly I support the muzzle from underneath, gently lifting the head. I rest my other hand on the hand that is supporting the muzzle and hold the syringe with applicator in close proximity to the nostril. This technique means that the dog is being comfortably restrained and less able to open its mouth and that the syringe is in a stable position in line with the nostril. I then quickly squirt the vaccine slightly medially into the nostril.
I have found this technique to be successful in the majority of cases, although not infallible