The Behavior Medicine Service treats emotional disorders in companion animals, including aggression toward people and animals, anxieties, fears, phobias, age-related behavioral changes and more. See below for more information about what to expect from the initial consultation and more resources.
Our service is part of both the Cornell University Hospital for Animals and the Duffield Institute for Animal Behavior.
What to expect
The initial behavior consultation is two hours total, conducted in two separate appointments. The first will be a remote video call, followed by an in-person visit 1-2 weeks later. More details about each appointment are included below.
Initial remote appointment (1 hour)
- Conducted remotely via video conference.
- We will review your pet’s medical and behavioral history and conduct a risk assessment.
- We will also discuss the diagnosis, prognosis and initial treatment options.
- You will be provided with an immediate action plan including safety and management protocols, tools and educational materials specific to your pet’s needs.
Initial in-person appointment (1 hour)
- Conducted in person at 968 Campus Road in Ithaca, NY.
- We will discuss the full scope of treatment, including foundational skills, behavior modification, as well as medications and supplements if indicated.
- A physical exam will be performed as much as your pet will allow without causing unnecessary stress.
Following each consultation, you will receive a written summary of the visit, which will also be shared with your primary care veterinarian. Follow-up appointments can be completed in person, via video conferencing or over the telephone. However, we must see your pet a minimum of every 6-12 months in person in order to make treatment recommendations and prescribe medications.
Please note that all our consultations focus on behavioral issues rather than general veterinary care. Please contact your regular veterinarian if there appears to be a medical problem with your pet. If a medical problem is recognized during a behavioral consultation, it will be referred to your regular veterinarian.
Pricing and payment policy
Our goal is to communicate the cost of care and payment policies as clearly and transparently as possible prior to starting and throughout treatment. We welcome any questions you have at any time.
Please call (607) 253-2300 for the current cost of behavioral health consultations and progress appointments. All diagnostic tests, training tools, medications, supplements, and additional training and behavior modification sessions are priced separately.
Payment is due at the time of service. More information about our payment policy can be found here.
Preparing for your appointment
Here is how to prepare for your appointment with the Behavior Medicine Service.
Bring your pet: Your pet should be present for both the initial remote and in-person appointments. Your pet does not necessarily need to attend remote follow-up appointments, but we will touch base with you on the best course of action.
Who should attend: We encourage everyone who lives with your pet, or who interacts with your pet regularly, to attend, particularly for the remote consultation. Also, if you are working with a trainer, they are also welcome. We find the team approach to behavioral care always works best.
Pre-veterinary medications: If medications for fear and anxiety have been prescribed by your primary care veterinarian, please plan to administer those to your pet on the day of your in-person visit. If you have any questions about giving medications prior to your visit, please let us know when scheduling.
Video: Video of the problem behavior is helpful and should be provided prior to the appointment if possible. If file size is small enough, you can email video to email@example.com. We would recommend DropBox or Google Drive for larger video files. Take video only if it is safe to do so and you are not creating or escalating a dangerous situation.
Medical records: Prior to your appointment, please have your primary care veterinarian send a copy of your animal's medical records, recent test results and vaccination records to firstname.lastname@example.org. We require proof of rabies vaccination.
SAFETY: Animals that have bitten people should be appropriately restrained either on leash or in a carrier at the start of the appointment until instructed otherwise. Please keep your animal under control at all times so that there is no risk to hospital staff.
In cases of aggression, we strongly recommend avoiding known triggers for your pet until the visit. If you are concerned about your safety or the safety of a family member, please let us know so we can discuss things further.
Safety protocols and the COVID-19 pandemic
We are committed to everyone’s safety while caring for your pet. We follow health and safety protocols based on best practices, as well as state and local guidelines and regulations. Please stay home if you are sick and contact us to reschedule your appointment.
We appreciate your patience and understanding. Please let us know if you have any questions about current safety protocols, or visit Cornell’s COVID-19 visitor safety page for more information.