Tactics to assuage client vaccine hesitation


How client education can help overcome vaccine hesitancy

Content sponsored by Merck Animal Health

Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Sometimes there's a misconception that we get as veterinarians are like, "Oh, you're, you know, a 'vaccinarian,' not a veterinarian. You're just trying to push q vaccine, another one on my plate, too." And you're in doggy daycare, too. You're a veterinarian. So how does...what conversation do you say to the pet owner that says that to you, and how do you implement lepto into your protocol.

Yasmine Mortsakis, DVM: So I mean, I think it varies depending on you know, sort of how aggressive they are about the you know, you're just trying to give a vaccine. You know, I try to sort of be a little bit low key about it and just explain to them, like, everything we do here is for the benefit and the health of your animal. And so that's why we got into this, and that's why we're here, and we're not pushing anything that would be unsafe. And, you know, I talked to them about, like, some of the data and why is this important to do to your dog, and we implemented it pretty early on in the puppy protocol for the dogs there. So not necessarily with the first DHPP [but] with the second and third is when we like to package it in there. And then I always have the talk about it with dogs that will come in that are older dogs that haven't had it, and I'm like, it's never too late to start. So just because you didn't have it as a puppy doesn't mean your dog can't get it now, and that sort of thing. So, but I think, you know, just having these honest conversations with the owners about why we're doing these things. You know, the transparency, I think is really important. And I think that sort of takes that 'vaccinarian' out of there.

Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Yeah, well, we do preventive medicine. I mean, you're boarded in the college preventative medicine. This is what we do as veterinarians, you know. So maybe you feel that there's a disconnect that happens between pet owners with what we're trying to recommend vs "Oh, you're just trying to oversell and oversell something," vs like, "Oh, we're really doing what's in the best interest of your fur baby."

Jenifer Chatfield, DVM, DACZM, DACVPM: I mean, I do a little bit, because it can be overwhelming, right? For the first time pet owner who gets a puppy or a kitten, and you come and see me, I'm throwing so many things at you. I'm like, you know, "You're going to come back 3 times, not just once, no matter like the if you purchased it at a rescue or if you purchased from a shelter. If you purchase from a breeder, it doesn't matter." Inevitably, someone will have said, "Oh, they've had all their shots.

Kathryn Primm, DVM, CVPM: It's 8 weeks old and it's had all its shots.

Jenifer Chatfield, DVM, DACZM, DACVPM: I frequently have to say to them, "Oh, but the rest of the sentence...that it can have til now." Right, because 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 16 weeks. And so you know, that that quick discussion about maternal antibodies, and how they fall off. And, and so a lot of times, it's the first-time pet owner, they're having this pet because they don't have kids yet. So they haven't even been through pediatrics where they get popped all the time with the shots, so it can't even really relate it to that for them. And so then I start talking about other preventives, right, like parasite prevention. You know, once a month or once every 3 months, you're going to be doing this. And there's heart worms, and there's, you know, there's fleas and ticks. And just because you don't see the fleas doesn't mean you have a miracle household. Especially in Florida, you still have them. So throwing all of this medication. Oh yeah, what do you feed them? You know how, like, you can't show them off to the whole neighborhood. They'll still be cute at 16 or 18 weeks. I promise they won't dog up or cat up until they're 24 weeks, but don't take them to the grocery store. You wouldn't take a 2-day-old infant to the grocery store and let everybody in town kiss him. So that's the situation, but it's a lot, a lot of information. And so I do encourage them—hold your breath—I do encourage them. Look on social media. I'm fine with that. Bring me your questions because then they can get some of it that way. But yeah, it's overwhelming for the first-time pet owner.

Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Oh, that's great. Thank you very much. Anything you wanted to add?

Yasmine Mortsakis, DVM: Yeah, I just wanted to piggyback on it's a lot of information that we're giving them all at once and their heads sort of start spinning off. And so what we found was really helpful is we send a follow up email to them, and it actually tailors the vaccine schedule for whatever if it's their puppy, or if it's their older dog. And then there's a little blurb about, you know, just in case, they forgot what we talked about what each vaccine is for, and why it's important and what the exposure risks are. And so they get that as a follow up about a day or 2 later, and then we encourage them to call back and then the staff is trained on it. So then they don't have to talk with the vet necessarily to figure out what they want to do, or, you know, whatever. But that we've seen that that's helped a lot with compliance and understanding what we're talking about, because they do leave sort of overwhelmed and kind of deer in headlights. And so it's helped, you know, break it down.

Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Yeah. And what do you educate the future pet parent for these beautiful guys?

Laura Anderson: So every person who gets a puppy from me has to listen to my speech about healthcare. And they go home with a document that outlines what shots; what month; preset your vet schedules now, so you know, when it needs to be done; what our experience has been with the different vaccines; what vaccines to expect to do; what dewormers we've used; what dewormers you may need to do in the future; which heartworm medicines; which flea and tick medicines...you know, all of those things, based on our experience with our pedigrees [and] what works well. And so they get all of that written up and they go home with it, and they have to listen to me talk through it. They don't just read it; they listen to me talk through it.

Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: It's good idea because everyone learns and digests information differently. So vs reading, they need to hear it, too. Anything that you do at your practice?

Kathryn Primm, DVM, CVPM: So I did...I love client education, and I like to do handouts and train my team. And so I wrote some client education handouts for dvm360®, and one of them was: Why do many pets need vaccines? And so they made it pretty, you know, and it's got a great picture, and it's a single-page handout, and we include that in our puppy package.

Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: That's excellent. Education sounds like it's crucial when we talk about vaccines. Any pet parent, regardless. Well, this has been fantastic. Thank you so much, my friends. This has been so great. Thank you so much. So next up we're gonna be talking about Lyme disease. So we're going to get in line with Lyme we're gonna see on the other side.

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