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Guide to Developing a Traumatic Timeline for Animals

Please place all shocks in a chronological order starting from conception/birth, or from the present and working your way back in time. For example:

Timeline Example

  • 2002: injury requiring stitches, freezing
  • 2000: emotional – traumatic move to Ottawa – sadness, anxiety, fear
  • 1997: vaccination for rabies etc.

The following types of events should be considered as possible shocks or traumas.


  • Pre-birth: any drugs or severe illnesses in mother (particularly of a viral nature); also consider any emotional shocks to mother during pregnancy or in mother/father at time of conception (see section on emotional traumas below); ultrasound or other invasive testing.
  • Birth: Mother had difficult labour; forceps used; use of anaesthetics on mother; late breathing or other possible oxygen deprivation
  • Vaccinations: Dates, if possible of first vaccination of each kind received (can ignore booster shots)
  • Accidents: car accidents, falls, blows to head, concussions, broken bones, animal bites
  • Surgical interventions: e.g., neutering or spaying, tail-docking, dental interventions, abdominal (including Caesarean sections), hysterectomy
  • Drug Use: antibiotics, steroids (Cortisone/Prednisone), heartworm meds, routine wormings, etc.
  • Hormones: hormonal drugs, etc.
  • Severe Infections: e.g., Lyme disease, Parvo, feline leukemia, colic, etc.
  • Electrical Shocks.


  • Traumas involving loss, abandonment, grief, betrayal (e.g., death of someone close, loss of trust, loss of independence)
  • Traumas involving great fear/anxiety, stress
  • Traumas involving anger and indignation/humiliation (particularly where the emotion had to be suppressed/“swallowed”), guilt (mostly that someone tries to put on you)
  • Feelings of envy or jealousy, or guilt
  • Traumas involving abuse, whether mental, emotional or physical

NB: Some emotional traumas can involve a combination of emotions.