Don't be a bonehead: Help clients hear your fracture management recommendations

September 23, 2016

Bone is pretty amazing tissueconstraining and directing the forces of muscle, and adapting under heavy loads. So, can you apply that metaphor to your client communication? Veterinary surgeon Dr. David Dycus explains how poor communication led to one super smelly cat, and offers tips getting clients to follow your fracture management recommendations.


When David Dycus, DVM, MS, DACVS, CCRP, walked into the exam room for his four-week recheck of a cat with a tibial fracture, he was assaulted by a horrible smell.

And he knew it was all his fault. Here's the story:


Of course, the client didn't properly care for the cat during those four weeks, but Dr. Dycus knew the real problem was that he and his team didn't properly communicate what the cat needed to heal.

Dr. Dycus recommends you think about two things:

> Pet owners' emotional state. Did the dog just get hit by car? Chances are, you're going to need to work harder to get them to understand what the pet needs for aftercare.

> Pet owners' husbandry skills. For example, how willing is the owner to keep the dog confined?

After those two considerations, Dr. Dycus tailors his recommendation to guide the pet owner through the at-home care steps.

One final tip? Dr. Dycus never says, "This is how I'm gonna fix it." He presents options, allowing for the possibility that some techniques might not be possible once the surgery's started. This keeps the client's trust intact, and, he says, makes them more willing to comply with his recommendations later on.