Rabies Vaccines: What's your veterinary team role?
When every team member offers the same message about pet care, there are no questions left in clients' minds about what they should do. When your recommendations involve public health, compliance becomes essential. Most clients won't object to vaccinating their pets for rabies when you explain the importance to their pets' and family's health. Consider the role each team member plays here.
Set up reminders for each type of rabies vaccine for every animal. Offer training to all team members, and be sure to revisit your protocols regularly. It's also important to stay up-to-date with vaccine manufacturers. Many times they'll be happy to offer training at a lunch-and-learn. You can also help by offering literature on rabies to your clients, such as the client education handout at http://dvm360.com/rabieshandout.RECEPTIONIST
When you talk to clients in person or on the phone, review their records to see if their pets are up-to-date with rabies vaccinations. Whether they're scheduling an appointment for an exam, boarding or grooming—or when they drop by to buy food, toys or other products—check the record.
People put an amazing amount of trust in their groomers—sometimes more than the medical team. So make sure your groomer is on board with your practice's recommendations and is empowered to discuss the importance of this vaccine with your clients.
In the exam room, rabies vaccine discussions pair nicely with discussions on dogs' lifestyle, behavior topics about dog bite prevention in children and the geographical areas the pets visit. For cats, explain the safe options your practice offers, depending on the practice's protocols as well as state and local laws.
In most cases, team members will have already addressed clients' questions or concerns about the rabies vaccine. Some clients will want to hear it from you, so be prepared to reinforce your message with concerned clients.
Mandy Stevenson, RVT, is a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and a technician at Rolling Meadows Animal Hospital in Adrian, Mo.