Samplers boost dietary compliance
Fight kidney disease in cats by finding a health-friendly food the pet will accept.
"Kidney disease is the No. 1 disease I diagnose," says Dr. Arnold Plotnick, Dipl. ABVP, Dipl. ACVIM, owner of Manhattan Cat Specialists in New York. "And cats with kidney disease that eat appropriate diets live longer." The key, he says, is for clients to try each of the available diets until they find one their pet will accept.
To get pets eating appropriately as soon as possible, Dr. Plotnick sells samplers, which include a can of each of the six therapeutic diets he recommends for cats with kidney disease and small sample bags of dry renal-failure foods. He says that even fussy cats usually like at least one of the canned foods and one of the dry foods.
"If I'm pretty certain a patient has kidney disease, I send the client home with the samplers and say, 'Any of the therapeutic diets in this pack is acceptable and will work for your pet. So use whichever your cat enjoys most.'" says Dr. Plotnick. "Or if I call the client to tell her the results of the blood test, I ask her to come in to purchase a sampler."
Dr. Plotnick has the client gradually transition the cat to one of the new diets, usually over three or four days, explaining that sudden changes can cause vomiting or diarrhea. If the cat likes the new diet after this transition period, the owner can keep the cat on that food or try one of the other samples.
More than 90 percent of his clients purchase samplers and follow his therapeutic diet recommendations for their pets. "I probably see fewer compliance problems than a regular companion animal practice would, because clients who seek out a feline-only practice like mine are generally crazy about their pets," he says.
Dr. Arnold Plotnick
Dr. Plotnick charges $14 for the kidney disease diet sampler. A technician or receptionist puts together 15 packs at a time and records them in the practice management software. The system alerts them when they've sold 12 packs and need to make more.