We use cookies

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Would you like to accept all cookies for this site?

Tell me more

Case Reports

Handling for Veterinary Procedures

The handling techniques described above are perfect for general checks. But in veterinary practice, sometimes a vet will need a dog held in a certain way to perform a procedure or examine a specific area of concern. This next section will go through appropriate and safe handling for multiple veterinary procedures. As with the previous holds, the animal should be assessed to determine the most appropriate method and the animal's welfare should be top priority.

We will be going through here:

  • Standing restraints
  • Sitting restraints
  • Lying restraints
  • Lifting a conscious dog

It is likely that a veterinary assistant will use multiple forms of these handling techniques within a single examination, depending on the requirements of the vet.

Standing Restraints

1. General Standing Restraint

Appropriate for: general exam, nail cutting, sampling of wounds/masses.

  • Always on the floor or very low table.
  • One arm comes under the chin with the hand around the back of the skull.
  • Gentle pressure bringing the dogs head against the handler's chest.
  • Second arm across the dog's chest with hand between the two forelimbs.
  • Gentle pressure applied to bring the dog's body close to the handler's abdomen (Figure 1).

This hold can become more firm, if required, by drawing the dog closer to the handler.

Figure 1

Figure 1 — Common standing restraint

2. Standing Restraint with Abdominal Support

This approach provides slightly more control over the dog.

Appropriate for: examination of rear end, anal gland expression, faecal sample, taking temperature.

  • One arm comes under the chin with the hand around the back of the skull.
  • Gentle pressure bringing the dogs head against the handler's chest.
  • 2nd arm under the dog's abdomen, hand placed near the hip (Figure 2).

The dog's abdomen will rest on the arm of the handler, which will prevent them from sitting down.

Figure 2

Figure 2 — Standing restraint with abdominal support

Sitting Restraint

Appropriate for: jugular blood sampling.

  • Handler kneels or crouches behind the dog with the dog's back end secured between their legs.
  • Hands go under the chin and lift gently to expose jugular vein.
  • This gives the vet easy access to the neck to take a jugular blood sample (Figure 3).

This can become a 2 person hold if required, with the 2nd person holding the front legs.

Figure 3

Figure 3 — Sitting restrain for jugular blood sampling

Lying Restraint — Sternal

Appropriate for: cephalic blood sampling, on table examinations, mass sampling.

  • This pose is easier for the handler on a table, but it is possible on the floor if required.
  • One arm comes under the chin with the hand around the back of the skull.
  • The other arm comes across the side of the chest and holds the leg at the elbow (Figure 4).

Figure 4

Figure 4 — Lying restraint in a sternal position

Now the handler can easily raise the vein for the vet taking the blood sample from the cephalic vein (Figure 5).

Figure 5

Figure 5 — The cephalic vein being raised for blood sampling

This position is also possible with the dog sitting on the floor.

Lying Restraint — Lateral, one person

Appropriate for: examination/treatment of a wound on legs, abdomen or side.

  • This pose is easier for the handler on a table, but it is possible on the floor, if required.
  • The front hand holds the bottom forelimb of the dog.
  • The handler's elbow and side limits the movement of the dog's head.
  • If needed, the handler's upper arm can apply gentle pressure to the dog's head to keep them still.
  • The handlers back hand holds the dogs hindlimb(s).

This position keeps the dog in a lateral lying position with minimal holding, keeping stress as low as possible (Figure 6).

Figure 6

Figure 6 — Lateral restraint by one person holding the lower-most limbs

Lying Restraint — Lateral, 2 people

Appropriate for: examination/treatment of a wounds or other on legs, abdomen or side.

With a larger dog, or when a firmer hold is required, this position can be done with 2 handlers.

  • One handler secures the front end with a hand over the neck of the dog.
  • The other handler secures the hindlimbs (Figure 7).
Figure 7

Figure 7 — The dog is secured in lateral recumbency by two handlers.

Modifications of this position may be required for the vet to access specific parts of the animal (Figure 8).

Figure 8

Figure 8 — A dog being restrained for wound cleaning.

Lying Restraint — Blood Sampling

Appropriate for: jugular vein blood sampling.

  • Dog is in lateral recumbency.
  • Handler holds dog's head upwards and secures the shoulder, keeping the dog still.
  • Two handlers may be required to keep the dog in lateral recumbency with the second handler holding the legs of the dog.

The vet now has access to the jugular vein to be able to take the blood sample (Figure 9).

Figure 9

Figure 9 — Dog being restrained for a cephalic blood sample

Lifting a Conscious Dog

There are many instances where you may be required to lift a dog. For example:

  • In and out of transportation
  • On to and off an examination table
  • In to and out of a kennel

It is therefore vital that you do so in a way that is safe for you and the dog.

The most important thing to remember when lifting anything is to lift with your legs, NOT with your back.

Let's look at how to lift a dog using both one and two people:

© WVS Academy 2024 - All rights reserved.