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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18 Today's Veterinary Business Business Business PREVENTIVES Gavzer has seen tremendous improvement in products that can be administered in the veteri- nary practice, like ear treatments, injectable antibiotics, heartworm preventives, and chewables for flea and tick. "Products like these are usually the best choice to ensure our pa- tients get what they need, and they are so much easier on clients. We do all the work for them," she said. Although determining compliance is more difficult today when clients purchase flea/tick products online and over the counter, as well as from veterinary practices, Gavzer said the hurdles to compliance remain the same: Do clients know that their pets need the products and do they know how to give them? "Did we recommend the products when they were in?" Gavzer said. "Did we let them know that they could get everything they needed for their pets before they left us and that we could give the first dose while they were there? Also, did we dispel the myth that our prices are higher? Did we let them know that our price would be about the same as they would pay online and they could take it home and be done?" Do clients give the product regularly even if they have it? "We can help them with this by offering to do it for them," Gavzer said. "Is there an injection in lieu of a pill their pets could take? Or are there pills that could be given every three months instead of monthly? Can we offer to send text or e-mail reminders when their pets need their next dose?" Safety First Product safety is always top of mind for clients and veterinari- ans. That's why Dr. Truffini said his practice waits at least a year when a product is introduced in the market and reads up on the research before using it. Fortu- nately, there is a familiarity with chewables as preventives, having been on the market now for sever- al years, as well as the similarity to heartworm preventives. "Everybody is used to giving something oral to kill something, such as heartworm," Dr. Truffini said. "Clients are already aware that these products are safe based on safety studies. They know about heartworm meds being safe, so that has paved the way for allowing these other oral products. We do explain the safety involved and studies done, and how little medication is needed. Knowing these products are safe when taken as direct- ed, they are pretty much on board with it." Like Dr. Truffini, Shannon Jensen, DVM, of Perkins County Veterinary Hospital in Grant, Nebraska, waited to try chewable flea and tick products when they were introduced. "I resisted selling chewable flea/tick products when they first came out due to the fact that they last so long in the body," she said. "I had past experience with chewable heartworm preven- tion causing GI signs for the full four weeks of efficacy." Last summer was her prac- tice's first to really offer chewables, and Perkins County chose Bravec- to (fluralaner). "Clients love the convenience of once every three months, and so far we have not seen any adverse reactions," she said. "The month- ly preventives drive traffic in the clinic more so than Bravecto as far as frequency of visits [monthly vs. quarterly]. Availability of oral, however, brings clients to the vet- erinary clinic." One of the biggest selling points for the new chewables is in how quickly they act, Dr. Truffini said. "We're getting more com- plete killing of the tick before it can actually transmit anything," he said. "That's important. "Most of our clientele is pretty well educated that you have to do something about ticks, especial- ly because of Lyme disease," he said. "We're in the No. 1 place in the United States for them. This area of Connecti- cut has the highest rate of Lyme disease. People are wary. Usually one or two family members have had Lyme disease. So they are aware, and they see ticks on their dog and know what's going on. They're all pretty much on board." At the Right Price Zack Mills, DVM, owner of Tiger Tails Animal Hospital in Duluth, Georgia, and a member of the Today's Vet- erinary Business editorial advisory board, said the vast majority of his clients are switching from topical to oral/chewables medications. "When it is easy to administer, clients are more apt to use the product," Dr. Mills said. Manufacturer rebates help cre- ate a high compliance rate among owners purchasing a year's supply, Mills said. "What gets people to purchase is the rebate," he said. "The [manu- facturer's guarantees] help, but it's really about price." Pricing products competitively is extremely important, he said. "Today's consumer is going to price shop if they are used to pur- chasing items online," Dr. Mills said. "When you price products too high customers can easily check to see if you are overcharging, and if you are overcharging for these items, they will ask themselves, 'What else are you overcharging for?'" Conversation Starters Compliance products are attrac- tive and desirable to clients if they know about the products, Gavzer said. That's where clear communi- cation from the entire veterinary practice team comes in. Having the preventive conversation is import- 1 2 Dr. Truffini hasn't seen a bump in sales as much as he has seen clients switching from topicals to chewables when his team initiates the discussion.

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