Q&A: Busting veterinary patient myths

Q: How can I bust these myths without offending veterinary clients?
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Oct 01, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

Q: Clients, especially kids, believe some pretty crazy things about cats, and sometimes it affects the care they offer. How can I bust these myths without offending clients?

"Since cats have been around people for many centuries and their image is so unique, it's understandable that stories and tall tales would be passed down through many generations," says Dr. Jane Brunt, executive director of the CATalyst Council and founder of the Cat Hospital at Towson in Baltimore. "Some misconceptions are that black cats are unlucky, cats and dogs are arch enemies, and cats—especially indoor ones—don't need to go to the veterinarian as often as dogs do."

But, she says, the truth is, most myths aren't the truth. They're stories that have been repeated and heard so much that people assume they must be true. Dr. Brunt offers this advice for how to respond:

  • Talk about the facts. For example, you might remind clients that nearly half of all dog owners also own a cat—and most of the time these pets get along.
  • Encourage pet owners to do their homework. Teach clients to come to you with questions or look to the library and Web resources you recommend to explore their cat questions.
  • Explain that cats need our help. "Discuss how we need to give our pets the best food and take them for check-ups, just as people go to the doctor and dentist," Dr. Brunt says.