Who failed? Preventive, pet owner or ...

January 30, 2017
Ciera Sallese, CVT, VTS

Ciera Sallese is a CVT, VTS (Clinical practice), at Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pennsylvania.

You can't guarantee parasite preventives will work perfectly EVERY TIME. And you can't make pet owners use veterinary approved preventives and use them correctly EVERY TIME. But when a parasite outbreak happens, here's how to ask the right questions and remind everyone to educate clients EVERY TIME.

The power is YOURS when it comes to veterinary client education in the irritating, frustrating event of a seeming parasite preventive failure. (Shutterstock.com)You've found fleas on Fluffy and roundworms in Rover's fecal sample, but their owners just can't understand how it happened. You can't guarantee parasite preventives will work perfectly every time. And you can't make pet owners use veterinary-approved preventives and use them correctly every time. But when a parasite outbreak happens, here's how to ask the right questions and remind everyone to educate clients every time ...

 

When the all-natural, holistic parasite preventive just ain't cuttin' it ... (Shutterstock.com)Client question No. 1: "Are you using veterinary approved preventives?"

Maybe the client went the holistic route-you know, some drops of cedar oil, a dab of lavender oil or some apple cider vinegar. Or maybe they tried to save some money with a grocery store brand; the packaging looks good, right? When things work out, these alternatives work. Other times, they lead to an infestation or reaction that could have been otherwise avoided.

You've got to ... always stress that veterinary approved products are not only more effective, but also safer for our patients.

 

First snowfall is a joy to many and a signal to some pet owners that they can ignore parasite preventives for at least three months. (Shutterstock.com)Client question No. 2: "Do you give these preventives year-round?"

I'd be rich if I had a nickel for every time I've heard, “We don't use preventives when it's cold out,” or “I only put it on if I see fleas on his fur.” Again, when things work out, maybe they miss the fleas in the winter once or twice, or maybe their eagle eyes are adept at identifying just the right time to strike the very first flea. But many external parasites can withstand cold weather in the right circumstances, and a warm home is an even better breeding ground. Also, waiting until an infestation begins actually defeats the point of these “prevention” plans in the first place.

You've got to ... recommend consistent and year-round use of these products. It's the only way these preventives will actually prevent, rather than treat after the fact.

 

Flea problem on the dog? We blame the cat. (Shutterstock.com)Client question No. 3: "Are you giving preventives to all the pets in your household?"

Many owners are really good about using preventives with their dogs, but then they forget about their feline friends, especially if those cats are kept indoors. Indoor cats may seem to be at less risk, but are often the perfect place for parasites to thrive within the home.

You've got to ... educate clients on the need for year-round preventives for cats to avoid infestations. Remember to tell them to use a product approved for cats to prevent any adverse reactions.

Ciera Miller is a CVT, VTS (clinical practice), at Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pennsylvania.