Scratch the itch

Scratch the itch

Portia Stewart
Sandy scratches. A lot. When her leg gets going, it makes a sound against the floor like a hammer driving a nail. My mother-in-law, Jane, first noticed Sandy's behavior a few months ago. When Jane took Sandy, a mid-sized 13-year-old mixed-breed pooch, to the veterinarian, he suggested a diet change to curb the scratching that makes her so uncomfortable.

Sandy's a lucky girl. She was a 6-month-old stray that was found wandering the countryside. Sandy adopted all of us, and now we're part of her pack. So it's hard to see the worried look on her face when the itching becomes unbearable.

As I watch Jane searching for solutions with her veterinarian, it reminds me how much the veterinary team counts. Jane has faithfully taken Sandy to the same doctor since Sandy joined the family. Sandy's received regular care from heartworm prevention to dental cleanings. Jane has tried the diet changes, despite Sandy's reluctance to try a new kibble. Now the real work begins.

The hardest part for Jane is the uncertainty. Sandy's condition might take a while to solve. And it's up to Jane's veterinary team to make sure she doesn't give up when the first diet change offers little improvement in Sandy's condition. They also have the burden of re-educating the family about what's off the menu for Sandy, including treats.

Sandy's parents are itching for a solution, and her veterinary team is working hard to offer one. But without your diligent care, clients will look for that solution somewhere else: the Internet, the local tractor supply store, or their neighbor's pantry. You want to be in on all of the discussions clients have about their pets' health—especially when pets are facing long-term conditions that require lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise.

So what else can you do for clients? How about a phone call just to check in? Or maybe you can copy the article you just read about itchy dogs. These gestures are just as important as the information you provide because they make the client part of your team. I know Jane will find a solution to make Sandy comfortable. After all, she's got a dedicated team of veterinary professionals to help her out.

Portia Stewart, Editor