You want to inspire careful home care and calibrate expectations for the owners of diabetic cats and dogs. And as with many things, it starts with conversations between veterinary team members and pet owners in the exam room ...
Speaking on diabetes at a recent CVC, Chen Gilor, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, assistant professor of internal medicine at The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, brought his thinking to bear on the most important things that veterinary team members do to assure pet owners that pets can live well with diabetes.
Are you doing diabetes talks right?
1. Ditch the needle and syringe, get with the injection pen
Injection pens are more convenient, accurate and precise, Dr. Gilor says. But that's not the main reason he supports their use for administering insulin in pets' homes.
2. Soothe the diabetes diagnosis
Diabetes sounds terrible. It's your job, with the veterinarian, to tell the truth about it: Once the pet owner gets used to the injections and changes the patient's diet, the cat or dog can do well.
"Most dogs and cats do pretty well in the long run with diabetes," Dr. Gilor says. "They can have a pretty good quality of life, and it's up to us to explain that to owners early on when they're facing the magnitude of twice-a-day insulin and changing the diet."
3. Make pet owners the first line of defense
Veterinary hospitals are crucial in managing a pets chronic disease, but you're really going to be at the mercy of the pet owners' own attention to their pet's clinical signs. Inspire them to be their beloved animal's advocate.
"It's important for team members to remind owners that we rely on [their patient diaries] for assessing progress and treatment," Dr. Gilor says. "You need to teach them what clinical signs to look for, how they can assess PU/PD and how to carefully watch a dog or cat's appetite."