Those long-term derm problems in your veterinary patients

November 7, 2016

Your patient is miserable, your client is annoyed and it's not getting better. Here's some data that points to the biggest problems with dermatology cases and some advice on how to address it.

In a recent survey, we polled 300 associate veterinarians and practice owners to ask them about the worst when it comes to dermatology cases-those long-term, drag-on-forever cases with miserable patients and impatient clients. Oh, you know the ones.

Here's what we found:

 

OK, so now what?

“The best thing to do is to empathize with clients. Listen and see where the frustration is coming from,” says Lisa Petty, BS, RVT, a technician at Animal Dermatology Clinic in Indianapolis. “Is it because they're not sleeping at night because the pet's scratching so much and keeping them awake? Is it because they don't have the money to continue an expensive medication? If we listen and uncover the root of the frustration, we can usually find ways to help.”

She explains that her own cat has a habit of eating things and vomiting, which means she's had to pay for radiographs several times to rule out a foreign body. Telling her own story helps. And she often follows up with a comforting statement, such as, “I know that this is expensive and you guys have been through a lot. Let's try to find a way that works for you and for your pet.”

A key point: Don't argue with clients about whether the diagnostics or treatment are expensive. “Yes, it does cost money and it can be expensive,” Petty says. “Relating shows your clients that you do know what it's like to have a pet that's expensive.”  For more ideas, head over here.