New Bolton Center Kennett Square, PA
Emergencies & Appointments:
Ryan Hospital Philadelphia, PA
Despite Sierra being dog-reactive, she quickly took to the new addition to their family.

CALM Program

Companion Animal Low-Stress Management

A Roadmap for Reducing Anxiety in Veterinary Patients

In a German study published in 2009, researchers found that:

  • More than 78% of healthy dogs in the study were fearful of the examination table
  • Fewer than half entered calmly
  • More than 10% had to be dragged into the practice

Routine veterinary procedures, such as taking a blood sample or neutering/spaying, can represent a major source of stress for veterinary patients. A recent Bayer veterinary care study found that “a major reason clients failed to bring their pets to the veterinary hospital was because clients were unwilling to put up with the stress to the animal and to themselves.”

The format for the Penn Vet CALM program allows veterinarians and veterinary professionals to learn, understand, and apply a variety of tools to enhance the welfare of animals. Penn Vet faculty clinicians will discuss the biology behind the stress response; how to recognize fear, anxiety and stress in veterinary patients; and how to effectively prevent and manage them in different contexts. Participants will discover ways to compassionately and respectfully address the veterinary needs of their patients.

The program is approved for CE credits. All participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the program.

Designed for Veterinary Professionals

This program will provide veterinarians and veterinary technicians with a deeper understanding of canine and feline stress-related behavior, and strategies to minimize the fear experienced by patients during veterinary procedures. The program emphasizes the profound relationship between behavioral and physical health in veterinary patients.

Typically, candidates come from or serve canines and felines in the following settings:

  • Companion animal exclusive private practice
  • Companion animal predominant private practice
  • Veterinary clinics
  • Veterinary hospitals
  • Rescue leagues
  • Animal shelters
  • Animal care and control service providers

Program Take-Aways

  • Learn stress reduction tactics at reception and in the waiting room
  • Incorporate anxiety-reducing techniques during physical examinations, treatment administration and hospitalization
  • Enhance communication within the veterinary team and with the client
  • Reduce the stimuli that can trigger perioperative stress and inhibit pain control
  • Introduce stress management protocols during hospitalization

Session Topics Include:

  • Neurophysiology of stress
  • The interaction between mental and physical health, and the role of pain
  • Stress and pain assessment
  • Canine and feline body language: signs of fear, anxiety and stress
  • Management of fear, anxiety and stress
  • Principles of behavior modification and training
  • Special patients: puppies and geriatrics


About CALM Program's Academic Director

  • Carlo Siracusa, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVB, DECAWBM
  • Director, Small Animal Behavior Service
  • Assistant Professor of Clinical Animal Behavior
  • Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
  • Diplomate, European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioral Medicine

CALM Program Academic Coordinator

  • Maria Calabrese, CVT
  • Director of Outreach, Ryan Hospital
  • Department of Clinical Sciences and Advanced Medicine
  • Email:
  • T: 215-573-9401
    F: 215-573-4617