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Q&A: Winning the war on bugs


How can I convince clients to purchase parasite products from our practice?

Q: How can I convince clients to purchase parasite products from our practice?

Let's face it: In this economic climate, pet owners are searching everywhere for bargains. That means they may be tempted to purchase cheaper parasite products online or in big-box retail stores. But here's the good news: Clients who use inferior flea and tick products are at least aware of the need for protection, says Dr. Mike Paul, executive director of the Companion Animal Parasite Council. The problem is that these products aren't always effective or safe, and they can actually cost clients more in the long run.

Veterinarians didn't always have access to the excellent products that are now available, and many actually encouraged clients to use nonveterinary products. Now it's time to re-educate them. Emphasize the fact that efficacy of veterinary products is excellent and explain that these agents are used in very low concentrations and do not persist in the environment. When used according to directions, these products are extremely safe around people, an important factor for clients with children.

While pet store and supermarket products may seem less expensive, clients should know that their lower efficacy rate and greater risk of toxic exposure make them no real bargain. In a pinch, you can try using "introductory" or "trial" pricing to entice clients to consider your recommendations, but keep in mind that this approach is a slippery slope that could create budgetary problems later on. The bottom line: Clients often feel that doing something is better than doing nothing. But doing the wrong thing is, in fact, worse than doing nothing. It's up to you to help them see the difference.

Find the answers you need

To learn more about how you can combat Internet pharmacies, visit dvm360.com and search "save your pharmacy."

For more information on the Companion Animal Parasite Council, including client handouts and brochures, visit capcvet.org.

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