VMX 2020—Stop telling your veterinary clients their pet is fat

January 26, 2020

A pet obesity expert shares tips and strategies on how to best approach this potentially uncomfortable topic. (Hint: Don't use the "f" word.)

Telling your veterinary clients that their pet is overweight is no easy task. In fact, Alex German, BVSc, PhD, DECVIM-CA, SFHEA, MRCVS, professor of small animal medicine at the University of Liverpool, says talking about obesity is a major problem among veterinarians.

“I think that’s the number one challenge that veterinarians face," Professor German told dvm360 at this year’s Veterinary Meeting & Expo (VMX), held this week in Orlando, Fla. "The biggest problem: We don’t talk about it,” he said. So, the first step is mustering the courage to discuss it.

Not sure how to get the conversation started? Professor German offers these tips:

  • Avoid blaming the owner, and "park your prejudices ... at the door."
  • Avoid toxic terms like “fat” and “obese.”
  • Talk about body condition scores with the owner instead of talking about “obesity."

For more tips from Prof. German about discussing overweight pets with clients, watch the video below.