FAQ’s

Question:

How can I get behavior help from Dr. Nichol?

Dr. Nichol:

The most effective treatment I can provide involves a 2 hour personal consultation with you and your pet. To schedule you can call my office at 505-792-5131. Our staff will gather basic information and then email, fax or mail you a behavior questionnaire. The details you provide will give me a running start so the 2 hours we spend together will be as productive as possible.

 

Question:

What goes on in a behavior consultation?

Dr. Nichol:

I’ll start by getting as clear as I can on the details of your pet’s behavioral and medical history. I’ll conduct a thorough exam to find any subtle physical influences. If a recent lab profile has not been done I may suggest drawing blood and urine at the time.

Once I fully understand the behavioral and physical issues I will give you a full explanation of what’s going on and why. I will then explain the specific research-based instructions for your pet’s behavior modification. For the best chance of success I will custom-fit these methods to you and your pet, to your family, and to the realities and limitations of your life and home. Behavior medications may also be helpful. I encourage people to ask plenty of questions. One hour follow-up consultations in several weeks are valuable in many cases.

After you leave the office I will email you the same instructions we discussed during our consultation in easy-to-follow written form. I’ll also call your regular veterinarian and mail the doctor a report. As you put our behavior plan to work at home you may face bottle necks or questions. You are welcome to email me your concerns anytime. I want your pet to improve as much as possible.

 

Question:

I don’t think my pet’s behavior problem is that bad. Is there a way of getting shorter, cheaper advice?

Dr. Nichol:

Most behavior disorders in pets are a complex mix of multiple behavioral and environmental factors. Simple solutions based on corrections and punishments are prone to fail because they don’t address the underlying causes. For many dogs and cats these punitive methods increase their fear and damage their relationship with their owners.

But there are some behaviors that are less complex. To address these concerns, and for people who are unsure if they want to invest in a full consultation, I offer dog and cat specific behavior classes several times a year. Click on Behavior Classes for the schedule of upcoming classes.

 

Question:

How do I register for a behavior class?

Dr. Nichol:

For some of the less complex behavior issues, and for pet owners who are undecided about having a full consultation, I offer dog and cat specific behavior classes at different locations in Albuquerque several times a year. Click on Behavior Classes to see the schedule of upcoming classes.

 

Question:

I am interested in Dr. Nichol’s Senior Dog Study. How can my dog participate?

Dr. Nichol:

I am currently conducting research into the early diagnosis of cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) of dogs, an aging brain disease that is quite similar to Alzheimer’s of humans. The results of this research could benefit both species.

Elderly dogs, especially those showing signs of confusion, pointless barking, house soiling, changes in sleep habits, and those losing interest in interactions with owners and other household pets, may have CDS. If you contact us I can recommend treatments that may help your senior dog feel better and function better for a while.

Ultimately, CDS causes dogs to lose their dignity and quality of life. It will be a sad day when you have to face having the dog you love euthanized (put to sleep). But that good dog can make one more gift. You can volunteer him or her for this research. Following your dog’s passing a post mortem exam and a high resolution MRI of the brain will allow me and the research team to accurately count the protein plaques surrounding affected neurons in the brain. Combining this information with details you provide on a special behavior questionnaire will show whether early MRI scans can predict the risk of aging brain disease.

There is no way for this research to help today’s pets. But with enough dogs participating my colleagues at the UNM Medical School and I may be able help head off CDS and Alzheimer’s for future generations.

 

Question:

How can I buy one of Dr. Nichol’s books?

Dr. Nichol:

My books on dog and cat behavior and physical health titled, “Is My Dog OK? How to Know When your Dog Won’t Say” and “Is My Cat OK? How to Know When your Cat Won’t Say” are available for $14.00 each. You can order as many as you like by clicking Order a Book. I will be happy to personally sign your book if you would like.