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Latest health and behavior news and advice from the veterinarians at Tufts University.

Features October 2019 Issue

Is Your Veterinarian Practicing Narrative Medicine?

Yes, the doctor can talk to you, but can he listen? That is, does he take the time to really understand your dog’s story line?

Is Your Veterinarian Practicing Narrative Medicine?

A way to establish rapport, empathy, and better diagnosis and treatment.

If you bring your dog to the veterinarian’s office because he has started urinating in the house, does the doctor simply perform a clinical exam followed by x-rays and blood work, or does she add in some questions that help her learn the story of the dog’s life? For instance, a vet might ask, “Has anything changed lately? Have you moved, or has someone moved into or out of your household? Has there been a divorce or some other difficult event?” That way, the doctor may find out that the dog is stressed, perhaps because he is sensing your own stress, and that is what is making him urinate indoors.

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