If a picture's worth a thousand words, four pictures are worth, well, a lot.
If a picture's worth a thousand words, four pictures are worth, well, a lot. Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital, in Stroudsburg, Pa., followed this line of thinking to develop a creative approach to client education about dental care. They create a 4-by-6-inch photo compilation that shows four views: A picture of the pet, a "before" mouth/teeth picture, an "after cleaning" mouth picture, and suggestions for home dental care.
These educational postcards, featuring before-and-after photos and recommended care, go home with clients when their pets receive dental care at Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital in Stroudsburg, Pa.
It's easy to set up. The photos are taken with a 1.3 megapixel digital camera and developed by placing the chip directly into a photo printer. A layout feature on the printer allows for the four-picture format. The printer typically costs about $130 to $150, though Lynette Ott, practice manager at Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital, found it on sale for $99. Postcards cost about 30 cents a piece. The postcards go home with clients at pet-dental discharges.
The practice also includes information about pet dentistry in its spring newsletter, explaining why dental care costs what it does, what processes their team uses for cleaning, extraction, and so on.
"Our biggest problem with pet dentistry," says Ott, "is that other local veterinarians provide dental care for a fraction of what it costs us to provide these services—let alone make a profit. And after speaking to five disgruntled clients about this issue, we found that other clinics aren't providing the same level of care. They're not using trained technicians, they sometimes just scratch off tartar without polishing out resulting roughness, and they don't intubate the pets or use plaque preventives and medications for periodontal disease." Educating clients about the care their pets receive has made a big difference in compliance with recommendations, she says. And a visual never hurts.