Today's Veterinary Business

DEC 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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Page 64 of 69

61 December 2018/January 2019 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM Merchandising PRODUCTS While these numbers show the trend in preventive human medi- cine, they're also a sign of what's to come in preventive animal medi- cine. The research firm Packaged Facts reported that one-third of dog-owning U.S. households and one-fifth of cat households pur- chased nutritional supplements for the pet in 2017 — a market estimated at nearly $1.5 billion. Pet supplement sales are growing by about 3 to 5 percent annually. It's safe to say that consumers of all kinds have growing awareness of the health and financial benefits of preventive medicine. But how often do clients come in to your practice and tell you, "I looked it up online and Google told me …"? To be sure, some of them are researching pet supplements and nutraceuticals. Then they travel to the nearest retailer or click online to purchase a product they think will do the trick for their dog or cat. Off-the-Radar Supplements While their inten- tions are good, clients who self-prescribe their pet's supplements could cause more harm than good. If the pet is on a balanced diet, introducing extra minerals and vita- mins might be a problem. And then consider the po- tential interaction Supplement your finances Pet owners are going to purchase nutritional aids with or without your involvement. Wouldn't you prefer to be the expert they consult and the source of the products? By Stephanie Duncan The popularity of supplements such as glucosamine, calcium and probiotics is increasing in human medicine as consumers become more aware of preventive health care. According to a report published by Zion Medical Research, the global dietary supplement market was valued at $132.6 billion in 2016 and is expected to nearly double — or better — by 2022. between a prescribed medication and a new supplement. Teri Skadron, DVM, who prac- tices at Skadron Animal Hospital in West St. Paul, Minnesota, urges clients to be cautious. "It's so im- portant for pet owners to ask their veterinarian which supple- ments to give," Dr. Skadron said. "For example, melatonin is a widely used hu - man supplement that has been utilized as animal supplements. However, chew- able melatonin has xylitol in it. "So, while it's safe for humans to consume, even a small amount can be deadly for their dogs." To help safeguard their patients, a practitioner should be proactive and ask clients about any non-pre- scribed supplements or nutraceu- ticals being given to the pet. The query also creates an opportunity to educate the client about supple- ments and encourage them to buy from the practice. The veterinarian will know exactly what the patient is being given, will be able to monitor any interactions between a drug and supplement, and will be able to provide sound advice about future supplement purchases. The Role of Supplements A 2015 Packaged Facts survey of pet owners revealed the most common- ly purchased condition-specific pet supplements support joint health, followed by heart health, skin/coat "We want to be known as the place where clients can come ask about supplements and have it become part of the whole patient care service we provide." — Teri Skadron, DVM Continued on Page 64

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