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Practice life: Put parasites in their place
Educate pet owners about how to use topical parasite prevention and other steps they need to take in their household.
We've all been there before: You hand a box of flea topical to the client for what seems like the fifth time in a few months. They remark that there's something wrong with the product, or that they just don't think it's working like it used to. At a certain point, clients may begin to think, "If my veterinarians sells me this product and it doesn't work, they must not know what they're doing."
We're not selling them a bad product. The preventives work, and we may need to educate pet owners about how to use them and other steps they need to take in their household. We're personal guides who help pet owners through thick and thin. When we start thinking of ourselves as problem solvers, we start solving problems.
Step 1: Gather data
Our clinic started investigating with questions like, "When was the last time you used a flea fogger in your home?" The most common answer was "never." The answer to "show me where you applied the product" often resulted in the owner running the finger all the way down a dog's back.
We compiled data using a simple log sheet with checkboxes for whether the pet owner applied preventives and used foggers. Our investigation that showed many clients weren't complying, and we were failing to educate clients about what else they could do at home.
Step 2: Present solutions
Start by encouraging clients to use a fogger—or seek help from a local pest control outfit. Foggers or whole-house insecticides aren't safe for anything with a heartbeat to remain in the home during treatment, so they'll need to leave the house.
Another household issue: the vacuum. Clients need to understand the importance of removing the bag or cylinder immediately after vacuuming, tying its contents up in a bag—or three—and putting it out to the curb at once.
Step 3: Offer a handout
We all know that sometimes clients just aren't paying attention. A client handout helps seal the deal and provides a reference for them to take home. Follow ups with clients have shown that owners who don't comply continue to struggle, while those who've deep-cleaned their houses often experience positive results—and thank us later.
Brent Dickinson is the practice manager at Dickinson-McNeill Veterinary Clinic in Chesterfield, N.J. Share your tips to educate clients at dvm360.com/community.