Today's Veterinary Business

APR 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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16 Today's Veterinary Business Business In the United States, 1 in 75 dogs and 1 in 150 cats test pos- itive for heartworm antigen. So, how can we help our clients to improve compliance and protect their pets? Cathy Lund, DVM, the owner of a Providence, Rhode Island, feline-only practice, finds that many clients claim that because their cats never go outside, the animals don't need a heartworm preventive. She responds by dis- cussing the difficulty of diagnosing heartworm infection in cats and pointing out that the No. 1 symp- tom is sudden death. Dr. Lund, a past president of the Companion Animal Parasite Council and a creator of the organization's parasite forecast maps, further asks if the client has heard the buzz of mosquitoes zipping by outside. She reminds the client that unpredictable weather patterns can cause mosqui- toes to pop up in places where they are not frequently found. She also notes that recent hur- ricanes in the Gulf Coast and Puer- to Rico led to heartworm-positive dogs being transported to other parts of the United States, further increasing the risk for the spread of the disease. We've all been told how a client needs to hear something at least three times before he compre- hends the importance of the mes- sage. Here's a solution: • The customer service rep- resentative brings up heart- worm prevention at check-in. • The technician further dis- cusses it when rooming the client and patient. • The doctor reinforces the message during the exam. • For good measure, the cus- tomer service representative can make sure the pet owner has a heartworm preventive before he leaves the hospital. The Hidden Infection Ed Wakem, DVM, who serves on the American Heartworm Society board and is a veterinary services How often do you walk into an exam room and ask the client whether her pet is getting its heartworm pre- ventive and she says "yes"? Your practice management software, though, shows that Ms. Smith bought a six-pack of prevention 12 months ago and always obtains it from you. Technically, Ms. Smith might be giving Fluffy a heartworm preventive, but not every month, so she likely is not following your recommendations nor those of the manufacturer. Year-Round Prevention The American Heartworm Society urges that every dog be checked for heartworms at least yearly. The guidelines are summed up in one sentence: Test every 12 months and prevent disease 12 months per year. Both the American Heartworm Society and the CAPC stress the importance of discussing parasite prevention for every pet at every visit. The groups recommend that the entire team be onboard and that new employees be educated about heartworm disease and par- asite control and be trained in how to raise the topic with clients. By Lori Teller, DVM, DABVP (canine/feline), CVJ Put your heart into heartworm prevention Constant communication and education, often through technology, can raise the client compliance rate. Business PARASITES

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