ProHeart for the win: Why injectables work for us

January 28, 2020
Vetted, Vetted March 2020, Volume 115, Issue 3

Our veterinary practice didn’t know how great an injectable heartworm preventive would work for us. Here are the details of our plan.

When we decided to start promoting ProHeart 12 (Zoetis), we were uncertain how successful it would be for our practice. But a light bulb went off for us as we thought more and more about it. If we could get more patients on these injectables, we’d get 100% compliance with heartworm preventive (as opposed to trusting clients to remember every dose at home) and keep sales in the clinic and out of online pharmacies. The best part is, we priced the injectable to be competitive. Here’s how we did it—and you could try it too.

Set the price

  • Price less than a popular online pharmacy’s price for a 12-month supply of a popular oral preventive. Explain that to clients.
  • Create a price sheet by weight for pricing purposes on treatment plans.

Get buy-in

  • Make ProHeart as important as a rabies vaccine in educating clients and team members.
  • Make sure all the hospital’s doctors feel good about recommending the injectable.
  • Encourage team members to put their own dogs on ProHeart. (Sales reps may be able to provide product for the team.) Nothing is more comforting for recommending products and services to a client than a team member saying, “My dog is on it, and I love it!”

Set goals

  • Partner with your reps to set goals with enticing rewards. I suggest a three-month goal, so educating clients becomes a habit.
  • Update team members on the compliance numbers regularly.

Educate clients

  • It’s convenient: One injection a year.
  • It’s easy: No more having to remember to dose every month or shove a pill down the dog’s throat.
  • It’s affordable: Your pricing should be competitive with noninjectable heartworm preventives, and clients might even benefit from manufacturer rebates.

Manage the skeptics

  • Concerned that a once-a-year preventive will cut down on client visits? When I look at numbers, single-dose purchasers are less than 30% compliant. With that compliance rate (you can try to check your own), I’d argue clients aren’t visiting the practice more often.
  • Worried about your margin? Think about the money your practice loses paying talented team members for their time to collect all information and signatures for those online pharmacy requests or to chase down single-dose users.
  • Scared clients won’t like the change? Pet owners trust their veterinarians and veterinary professionals to guide them to do what’s best for their beloved pets. While online pharmacies may automatically send a single dose monthly, that doesn’t mean it’s actually being given to the pet. Yes, the injectable has the potential for sticker shock, if clients are used to small bills from pills. So, do the math for them and explain the convenience. It can make financial sense for many, and it can make convenience sense for everybody.

Moving to injectables like ProHeart 12 with long durations also allows you to cut back on other drugs (like parasite preventives) taking up inventory space and eating up staff time.

ProHeart 12 was a hit for our veterinary hospital—200 injectables in the first six weeks—and the math that makes it work for us and our clients might work for your practice too. It's worth a try!

Emily Shiver, CVPM, is practice manager at Cleveland Heights Animal Hospital in Lakeland, Florida.

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