Seize more fleas with these client communication tips

January 16, 2018

5 ways to freshen up flea education at your veterinary practice.

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As we embark on a new year with countless unknowns, at least one constant remains: Your clients will still need to be reminded of the importance of flea preventives.

If you're feeling uninspired, perhaps the idea roundup below can help.

1. Call to action

A simple addition to your appointment reminder calls can pave the way for better preventive conversations in the exam room, says Bash Halow, LVT, CVPM. Try this: “Please bring in all current medications you're giving your pet, including any flea and tick and heartworm medications.” Your team will learn how many doses are left and be able to talk about the importance of keeping up with the preventives.

(Photo courtesy of PetWorks Veterinary Hospital)

2. Flea fallin'

PetWorks Veterinary Hospital in Overland Park, Kansas, hangs 40 copies of illustrated fleas in its reception area to make the threat of fleas more tangible. Why 40? A single female flea can lay that many (and more) in a single day. In addition to giving your clients the heebie-jeebies, this “décor” is sure to spark some educational opportunities.

 

3. Give out a flea-bie

The Animal Wellness Clinic in Michigan City, Indiana, punches up flea prevention with punch cards. Clients get a punch for every flea-and-tick preventive dose purchased, and after 12 doses, they get one free. This freebie helps illustrate the importance your practice places on flea preventives and gives you a perk to promote in-person and online. (Note: To comply with EPA regulations, the Animal Wellness Clinic got extra product inserts from the company representatives to hand out with any single doses sold.)

 

4. Apples to apples, fleas to peanuts

You know you don't need to see fleas to be sure they're present, but your clients may not. Here's a tip from Allison Kirby, DVM, DACVD: Explain that it's like a peanut allergy. A person who's allergic to peanuts can see the telltale signs of exposure without seeing a single peanut. Thus, you'll need to teach your clients the telltale signs of flea infestation:

flea feces, or pepper-like specks, in the pet's coat or on its bedding

flea eggs, or light-colored specks, in the pet's coat or on its bedding

scratching, biting at fur or legs

patchy hair loss, especially near the tail or neck

lethargy.

 

5. Statistically speaking

Clients tend to think that fleas simply reside on animals. If only. Tell clients that even in clean homes, 95 percent of fleas aren't on the pet-they're in both the indoor and outdoor home environment (for example, carpets, bedding, upholstered furniture, bushes, sidewalks and porches). This is a great opening to discuss how to eliminate fleas in the home environment.

We know talking about fleas day in and day out can be a slog, but keep up the good flea fight and let us know if you have any brilliant client communication ideas we haven't covered. Email us at firstline@ubm.com. We'll pay $50 for each tip we publish.