Put parasites in their place
Too often clients don’t understand the threat parasites pose to their pets’ health and their own. Without the right education from your practice, pet owners may fail to protect their pets. Perhaps you didn’t make a recommendation. Maybe clients are afraid to ask questions—or they don’t know the right questions to ask. The result: Clients don’t realize their pets can transmit serious diseases.
High numbers of fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites are a concern this year, and this has elevated concerns about effective parasite prevention for pets—and people, says Julie Legred, CVT, a board member for the Companion Animal Parasite Council.
Now it’s more important than ever to effectively educate pet owners about the appropriate products your practice recommends as well as correct application, Legred says.
“Some pet owners aren’t appropriately educated on what to apply, how to apply it, and what to do if there’s water involved,” Legred says. “It can be very hazardous if you don’t apply products correctly—especially for families with young children.”
Team members can play an important role as educators, and Legred recommends looking outside your practice to venues such as local 4-H clubs, schools, FFAs, and other venues to start a dialogue with young pet owners and their parents. These offer great opportunities to reach out to young pet owners in your community and to bring your message to families.
“You can represent your practice and talk to people and share educational materials and your practice information,” she says. “This brings families back to you, and they ask a lot more questions.”
How-to tip: Pediatricians and parasites
Consider these tips to reach out to human healthcare professionals and safeguard pets and their people.
1. Contact local medical professionals. Invite them to a meeting to discuss zoonotic risks.
2. Share parasite information with local medical professionals—and ask for their input—so you’re sharing the same information with clients. This consistent message across fields will build client confidence—and possibly even compliance.
3. Teach pet owners together. Request free pet owner brochures from the Companion Animal Parasite Council. For a list of parasite education resources, visit dvm360.com/parasitetools.