Need help? Please review our most frequently asked questions.
Who is Stephanie Borns-Weil and what are her qualifications?
Dr. Borns-Weil is a veterinarian who graduated from Tufts and completed a residency in clinical animal behavior with Dr. Nicholas Dodman. She teaches clinical animal behavior at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, and writes and lectures to both veterinary and lay audiences on topics including aggression, inappropriate elimination, fears and phobias and compulsive behaviors.
What kinds of animals are seen at the behavior clinic?
Dogs, cats, birds, horses, rabbits, and ferrets. Dr. Borns-Weil also consults with institutions such as zoos and aquaria about captive wild animal problems.
My dog or cat bites. What should I do until the consultation?
We strongly recommend preventing future episodes of aggression by avoiding known triggers. If you are concerned about your safety or the safety of a family member, please let us know.
If your pet attacks another animal in the home, your animals should be separated until the consultation unless the aggressor is under physical control (on a leash or with someone holding him/her).
If your pet attacks visitors to your home, he or she should be confined behind a barrier such as a door or gate, or on a short leash when visitors are present.
If your pet attacks people or dogs in public, contact with unfamiliar people should be strictly avoided until the consultation.
You may also desensitize your dog to a basket muzzle. An excellent source of information about the use of basket muzzles can be found at www.muzzleupproject.com.
Why do I need to have my pet’s medical records sent?
Behavior problems may be caused by or aggravated by medical problems. It is important for us to obtain a comprehensive medical history to rule out possible medical issues. We would like to see a copy of any pertinent medical records from your veterinarian.
Should I bring both animals if they are fighting?
For consultations addressing aggression between your dogs or between your cats, all of the animals involved should be present. Only one fee will be charged for the consultation. If your pets cannot safely be in the same room at the same time (on leashes or in carriers), then they can take turns in the consultation room. The one that is not in the consultation room can be housed in our patient ward.
May I bring my other pet for moral support?
Most certainly. If your dog or cat feels better with his or her canine or feline companion, please feel free to bring him or her along. There will be no additional charge for the other animal.
Who should come to the appointment?
All family members involved in caring for the animal should be present if possible. You may bring as many family members as you would like, including children.
Should I bring my dog’s trainer?
Your dog trainer is most welcome to attend the consultation if you feel that it would be useful.
What should I bring?
We encourage you to bring all training equipment (head halters, collars, etc.) that you are using or have tried and to bring appropriate gear for inclement weather. We may practice behavior modification techniques outside or in an adjacent building if appropriate.
Does Dr. Borns-Weil prescribe medication?
She has many tools in her treatment tool box. The needs of each pet are different. If medication is indicated, she will prescribe it. Other tools include behavior modification, training, and environmental management.
Should my pet’s primary care veterinarian do lab work before coming to the behavior clinic?
It is always helpful to have lab work done before coming to the behavior clinic so that medical problems can be ruled out. Please have your pet’s veterinarian email or fax us all lab results.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Please download the appropriate canine or feline questionnaire, fill it out and return it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The form can also be faxed to us 508-839-7951. Once we receive the completed form, we will contact you to schedule an appointment. If you would like to make an appointment for a bird, rabbit, horse, or pig, please email us to request the appropriate form. Our email address is email@example.com.
Does my pet have to be present for the consultation?
Yes. We do require your pet to come in with you for your behavior consultation. If you have concerns about the process, please call and we can discuss strategies to minimize the stress for you and your pet.
My pet does not do well at the vet’s office, do I have to come into the lobby with him/her?
If your pet is likely to find the lobby very stressful, you may check in by phone from your car when you arrive. When it is time for your pet's consultation, we will escort you and your pet through a side entrance directly into our consultation room. Prior to your consultation, you will receive a letter with details about checking in from your car.
What if my pet does not display the behavior during the consultation?
Dr. Borns-Weil is very experienced in reading body language and interpreting the behaviors of even her most stoic patients. You will have an opportunity to explain how the behavior we see in the clinic relates to what you see in your home or community.
Where do I find the link to the behavior forms?
You may download and fill out either the Canine Questionnaire or Feline Questionnaire. To book a consultation, please email the completed questionnaire to firstname.lastname@example.org. It can also be faxed to (508) 839-7951. Once the questionnaire is received, we will contact you to schedule a consultation. Please call 508-887-4640 if you are having trouble downloading the questionnaire.
If you prefer, the questionnaire can be mailed to:
Animal Behavior Clinic
Foster Hospital for Small Animals
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University
200 Westboro Rd.
North Grafton, Massachusetts 01536
What happens during the four-month period after my consultation?
You are encouraged to provide us with regular progress updates and to contact us with questions or concerns. Consistent communication enables us to provide timely advice to keep you and your pet on track with the treatment plan.
Will my pet need to return for a recheck?
Typically, we are able to tackle most behavior issues with the initial consultation and four months of follow up by phone and email. If you find after the follow-up period that you require additional assistance, a recheck consultation at the behavior clinic can be scheduled.
Does my pet have to have a physical exam?
Physical exams are performed on all patients when possible and avoided in patients for whom an exam will be too stressful.
Do you have emergency?
The Emergency Service at the Foster Hospital for Small Animals is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help you and your pet. We serve central Massachusetts as a primary emergency hospital, and New England and beyond for referral of critically ill or injured pets.