Point out parasites to your clients


Improve client compliance with these hooks.

When Dr. Jay Stewart's clients are reluctant to follow his parasite-related recommendations, he thinks about Velcro. "I use a lot of different hooks to get the message to stick," says Dr. Stewart, owner of Aumsville Animal Clinic in Aumsville, Ore., and a member of the Companion Animal Parasite Council. Here are some of his favorite hooks:

Zoonoses. The intestinal parasites that hatch inside pets can make their way into people. Fleas and ticks that hitch a ride on the family cat or dog make kids and adults sick. "We usually focus on the pet's health, and that's important," Dr. Stewart says. "But we shouldn't forget to tell clients how parasites can impact the entire family."

Environmental contamination. A client's house may be parasite-free, but does the family pet ever go outside or come into contact with other animals at a park, a beach, or relatives' homes? Pets need to be protected from other animals' infestations, and vice versa.

Preventive medicine. Tests that catch parasitic diseases and infestations early save clients money in the long term. Especially in a tough economy, screening and prevention make sense. Otherwise clients are rolling the dice, hoping their pets don't contract a serious and expensive disease. "We need to promote diagnostics and prevention as a way clients can save money," Dr. Stewart says. "If we impart a long-term vision of healthcare, both the client and the veterinarian will be ahead."

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