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BizQuiz: Working with overeager horse owners (Answer 6A)


This is answer 6A in "BizQuiz: Working with overeager horse owners."

6A. Wrong. If a client isn't doing what's best for his or her horse, in your best medical opinion, it's time to let him or her go.

Most client-veterinarian relationships don't reach this point, but if you clearly aren't meeting a client's expectations and he or she isn't meeting yours, it's time to end your relationship. Refer the client to another veterinarian in your practice, if possible, or in the community.

Sometimes the choice to dismiss a client becomes a moral and ethical issue, when a client's demands for drugs or treatment don't meet your medical standard. Document all conversations with your client in the record so you can show exactly what happened. If you decide to dissolve your relationship, send the client a letter stating that you'll no longer provide medical care for his or her horse, the client should find another veterinarian, and you'll provide records upon request.

Most information-hunting clients mean well, though they may require more attention than the average client. The key is to take them in stride. Many are good clients and horse owners who need some direction. Look at their enthusiasm as an opportunity to work together.


You'll only stifle dialogue if you become defensive with the client who brings in a foot-tall stack of Internet printouts on his or her horse's condition. To foster trust, let clients know you appreciate their efforts, and steer them to reputable sources for their information fix.

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