"I want to test your pet's blood"


Dr. Robert Stannard educates clients about the importance of blood testing. Compliance is great, he says, and the team often finds problems in what are apparently normal, healthy patients.

Twenty-nine to 36 percent of Adobe Pet Hospital’s income comes from lab work, says Dr. Robert Stannard. He’s owned the AAHA-accredited practice in Livermore, Calif., for 26 years. He says those numbers show how receptive clients are to diagnostic testing.

“Most people who come to us want to keep their pets healthy,” he says. “We stress that the best way to keep them healthy is to identify any problems lurking in the background. Cancer is the No. 1 killer, but kidney disease is the second-leading cause of death. If we catch these issues early, we can prevent bigger problems later.”

Dr. Stannard uses a couple powerful client communication strategies to reinforce the importance of routine testing:

> he explains that pets age faster than humans, and

> he relates a pet wellness visit to the client’s human wellness visit. For example, he asks clients, “You wouldn’t go to the doctor for an annual wellness exam and skip the lab work, would you?”

> Finally, he reminds clients that pets can’t say how they’re feeling, so testing is even more important for them.

Reach out and test someone

The practice team delivers these messages in the exam room, of course, and also on the practice’s Web site. Besides providing information about routine blood testing and geriatric evaluations, the site periodically features patients who have benefitted. For example, Dr. Stannard posted a story about Gretta, a 10-year-old dog that suffered from a parathyroid gland tumor that wouldn’t have been discovered without regular senior blood testing.

The staff members at Adobe Pet Hospital also review brochures with clients that show how pets age faster than humans. And they put laminated printouts that cover blood testing in the exam room. They provide one for junior wellness blood testing and one for senior wellness blood and urine testing. (See samples at vetecon.com.) Instead of offering the medical explanation of the tests, the sheets concentrate on the benefits. “We tried to put this information in terms clients could understand,” Dr. Stannard says.

Another strategy that helps compliance: grouping tests together. The practice requires annual heartworm, lyme, and ehrlichiosis testing, so the team offers these with the blood panel as a package deal. “We wanted to make it cost-effective for clients to do them together,” Dr. Stannard says.

The laminated sheets include the cost of the services, so clients aren’t left guessing what they’ll pay. “If they don’t want the full panel, we can do a smaller one, though we stress the benefits of regular screening and blood testing.”

To overcome any price resistance, Dr. Stannard says they work to demonstrate the value of blood and urine testing. “We point out that the senior wellness panel includes four pages of lab data, which gives us valuable information to help keep their pet healthy,” he says. “Clients are very receptive. If they aren’t, the veterinarians and team members aren’t communicating the importance of blood testing.”

Samples of client handouts about junior and senior wellness blood testing


Client education handout on blood testing


Related Videos
© 2023 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.