Recently, in the veterinary community, there has been a push to increase the use of low stress handling during patient visits. This is particularly important for feline patients as they tend to be more stressed during exams and pose a potential safety issue for the veterinary staff. Dr. Sophia Yin was perhaps the most famous behaviorist and an advocate of low stress handling. This is an example of rhetorical ecology because it has caused a movement within the veterinary community in attempt to make our feline patients more comfortable and create a positive experience for them.
It is often difficult when feline patients arrive to the veterinary clinic to make them feel comfortable. In my field of work they are commonly very ill as I only see emergency cases. I enjoy using low stress handling when it is safe for me and my team. However there are times that this is not possible. An example of this restraint include a “kitty burrito” or “purrito”. This is where the patient is wrapped in a towel so that only the head is exposed and all four feet are tucked in. Not only is this safer for the people working with this cat, but it also makes the cat feel safe.
At drsophiayin.com we can see that clinics can actually become certified in low stress handling. This informs clients that the clinic practices these techniques of restraint and proven that they do it effectively. I like this website in particular because the language is written for the client, not the veterinarian or technician. I think this is important in terms of rhetoric because it shows that this movement is branching outside of the veterinary team and into the knowledge of veterinary clients. This to me is rhetorical ecology. In Jenny Edbauer’s example, “Keep Austin Weird”, the movement was used as propaganda by multiple organizations, businesses, and locals. That exact vitality is what makes up a rhetorical ecology.
Although low stress handling has not spread quite in the way “Keep Austin Weird” did, it still has greatly made its mark on the veterinary community and is beginning to do so with clients as well. Hopefully, this will eventually be a universal method of handling in veterinary offices, shelters, and even in homes.