Unclog your congestive heart failure protocols using dvm360 hacks


Have a change of heart-or your standard operating procedures-when it comes to helping patients with this debilitating cardiac disease.

Hey, how'd you get that hack?

We asked you! No, really-in a survey, dvm360 Clinical Updates: Practice Hacks. Over a hundred veterinarians, practice managers and team members chimed in with ways to make life easier for you, your patients and your clients, which we've organized into categories (get the full list here). It's a hack jackpot (a hackpot?)! But we didn't stop there-we've also spliced in a number of Idea Exchanges from one of Vetted's parent pubs, Veterinary Medicine.

You poured your hearts out when we reached out to you for ideas to help owners better care for their pets suffering from congestive heart failure (CHF).

Educating clients

"As weird as it sounds, I compare hearts to elastic waist bands on underwear-eventually the elastic stretches and contracts so many times it wears out and the waist gets loose and thinner. People get that visual, and then it's easier to explain how drugs can help."

"I explain the heart is like a swimming pool pump, and then I explain how each drug will help the heart work more effectively in those terms."

"Since some pets are asymptomatic, we show clients radiographs of their pets compared with a normal heart."

"We show our clients the ECG strips. Visual aids really drive the point home."

"Since many small breeds develop CHF and also reverse sneeze, we have the client look at the pet's mouth if they are uncertain if what they are seeing is a reverse sneeze or a CHF cough: Open mouth = gasping: closed mouth = OK."

Getting patients back in the door

"We have slightly lower fees for recheck appointments vs. a new problem."

We have one medical progress exam (recheck) built into the cost of the initial exam. It seems to avoid negative feelings when they return with a pet that may not be doing well."

"To help ensure follow-up appointments are kept, we assign a long-term nurse to each patient."

Sacking the sodium

"We use analogies to people eating salty potato chips."

"I try to show them human portions and then show the portions for their pet, primarily to control the sodium intake."

For fragile felines

To minimize stress for our delicate feline patients, we often have the owner administer an anxiolytic at home before bringing the cat in, depending on the patient's status, degree of heart disease, other concurrent medications and systemic diseases. We offer house calls as well for fragile cases if imaging is not needed for that visit.

Take-home tools

"To get owners to accurately and reliably obtain the resting respiratory rate, we provide a detailed handout with a log and also ask them to download the Cardalis heart disease monitor app."

Resting Respiratory Rate app


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