Do clients know the risks of parasites?

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Yes. But oddly enough, few pet owners take the right steps to protect their pets, their families, and themselves from infestations (see Figure 1)

Yes. But oddly enough, few pet owners take the right steps to protect their pets, their families, and themselves from infestations (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

So why the gap? Partly, because of the commonly held belief heartworm isn't an issue. And some pet owners also resist deworming a puppy or kitten because they've already paid the breeder for this service, says Gina Toman, a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and veterinary assistant at Seaside Animal Care in Calabash, N.C.

Quick quiz

Whatever the reason, sending a consistent and repetitive message to pet owners is the best way to bridge that gap (See "Does Selling Your Services Mean Selling Out?"). Mandy Stevenson, RVT, a Firstline board member, gives this advice when educating clients about parasites: "Use the term 'zoonosis,' define it, and tell clients how parasites can affect themselves and their families. When clients understand the risks, they're more likely to comply."

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