Today's Veterinary Business

JUN 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 Business PREVENTIVES Stanley Truffini, DVM, of Georgetown Veterinary Hospital in Con- necticut, has seen almost four decades' worth of product introductions designed to combat an age-old pet conundrum: fleas and ticks. First were the flea collars. "You can sometimes forget about the fleas, but they always come back," Dr. Truffini said. "I've seen this happen frequently. Over the summer, you'll never see fleas on the dogs that are protected, but all of a sudden a cat or a dog that doesn't have some sort of preventive will show up. You tend to think they aren't out there, but they are." Then came the topicals. "We originally started with the topicals because that was what was available," he said. "They had their issues with application, applying it properly. We always recommended them to families with children but would advise that they didn't hug or touch their pets in the area the topical was ap- plied, and that was always a little bit of an issue." Then the oral preventives start- ed appearing. Dr. Truffini's team waited a year or so before bringing a new product into the hospital. "They seem to work well," he said. "We didn't have too difficult a time convincing clients, especially with families. Families were key, with children hugging pets and hanging around them." Compliance Challenges Indeed, preventive products for years have been able to combat fleas and ticks and the diseases they carry. It's the compliance component — convincing the clients of the benefits of the prod- ucts and then follow through with appropriate use — that's remained a challenge. Compliance isn't just an animal health challenge. Human medicine and pet medicine studies have shown that the adherence step of compliance — what clients actu- ally do when they get home — is poor across the board, said practice management consultant Karyn Gavzer, MBA, CVPM. As the former director of mar- keting for the American Veterinary Medical Association, Gavzer created public campaigns within the indus- try, such as "Pets Need Dentistry, Too" and training programs to help veterinarians and their teams mar- ket their services more effectively. Poor compliance has many potential causes, Gavzer said. "Clients may get confused," she said. "They may forget to give the medicine to their pets. They may have trouble giving the medication because the pet fights it, such as ear squirt treatments and pilling cats. Or clients may run out of the medi- cation and forget to order more." One interesting development Gavzer sees on the human medi- cine side is experimentation with "smart pills" that digitally log in when they are taken and with implantable dispensing devices that automatically deliver needed medications. "In the meantime, they are little better off than we are with our veterinary patients," she said. "For now, the two main tools to improve client compliance are more conve- nient products and medications, and human support." How chewables and other compliance-friendly products are driving traffic to veterinary practices. By Graham Garrison

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