Know When it’s Time to Bring Your Pet to the Veterinarian

Just like you, your pet is going to get sick from time to time. More times than not, you’re going to debate whether or not you’re sick enough to go to the doctor. You might have that same thought when it comes to your pets, although it’s good to know when you can hold off and when you can’t.

To start, with puppies and kittens, there’s a schedule of vaccinations and examinations that usually take place every three to four weeks until they are 18 to 20 weeks old. The frequency of the visits is because of the vaccinations. The antibodies the puppy or kitten received from its mother interfere with the vaccinations, but yet they’re not protective. Veterinarians give them the vaccines to outrun the antibodies they received from their mother to keep them protected during that period of time.

After that, visits to the veterinarian are usually once a year for physical exams, unless there’s a problem.

Warning Signs to Watch For if There’s a Problem

There are many signs to look for when it comes to pet health problems. Some signs to look out for are:

  • Any changes in eating habits
  • If they’re vomiting more than once
  • Any changes in their stool or elimination habits, such as if they’re urinating frequently or in small or large amounts
  • Any change in their appetite
  • Any change in their willingness to do things, such as go for a walk, get up, or interact with you

There are all indications that something could very well be wrong. Granted, there are certain instances where it depends on whether or not you should take your pet to the veterinarian immediate.

If you know your dog is the kind of dog that can get into something, such as garbage, and they eat the garbage, you probably would want to bring them in to the veterinarian to make sure there are no obstructions and that they haven’t eaten anything toxic.

There are cases where the dog might have simple gastroenteritis that they’ll get over within 12 to 24 hours. More often than not, however, if you wait while the dog gets sicker and sicker, there are a lot of risks that could put your dog’s life in jeopardy.

Dangers of the ‘Wait and See’ Approach

Chances are, you’ve known your pet for a while. You know when they’re happy and health, and you know when they’re not feeling well. There’s a fine line between being cautious and putting your pet’s life at risk.

For example, if your dog eats something that causes a simple case of gastroenteritis, if you don’t treat it the dog will get sicker and sicker. They will continue to vomit, have diarrhea, get dehydrated, and feel worse and worse. If you take the dog to the veterinarian sooner rather than later, they can receive medicine that will help stop the vomiting and treat the condition.

Early intervention is the key to making any pet feel better. The worst-case scenario is that your sick pet could absorb bacteria and become really sick because they weren’t treated appropriately and weren’t given the medicine to treat the bacteria.

When It’s OK to ‘Wait and See’

There are times when, like humans, pets are going to get sick and it isn’t necessary to visit the veterinarian.

If your dog gets into the cat food and gets sick because of it, you know they can’t die from eating cat food. Chances are the food won’t agree with their stomach, they vomit the cat food once, and then they’re completely active and normal and happy in every other way, it might just be something you’d want to call your veterinarian just to see the best course of action.

It’s always a good idea to check with your veterinarian to see what they think and get some advice on how to proceed. Usually though, if it’s just one instance of vomiting and your dog seems completely well and happy otherwise, it’s reasonable to put a call into the veterinarian just to see what they suggest.

When in Doubt, Call Your Veterinarian

Check with your veterinarian. Most times, your veterinarian will know your pet’s case well enough to say, ‘Your pet has a very sensitive upper GI tract and every time this happens, they end up needing IV fluids, so why don’t you bring them in so we can give them medication to prevent it from getting worse.’

Sometimes a veterinarian is going to say they don’t know, that they can’t tell because they can’t see your pet, so give it 12 hours to see if they get better. If they don’t, you can bring them in then. It’s better to stay in touch with your veterinarian so that they know.

If you’re in doubt about what you should do about your pet, it’s always best to call your veterinarian just to be sure. The staff will be able to advise you if they know what’s going on with your pet. They’ll be able to ask you pertinent questions, such as ‘Did you dog rip up his toy and is there anything missing?’ If your dog ripped up his stuffed animal and three quarters of the stuffing is missing, there’s a good indication your veterinarian is going to want to see them now because the stuffing could cause an obstruction.

When it Comes to Medicines, Veterinarians Trust VPR Cloud

Created by veterinarians for veterinarians, VPR Cloud is a reference like no other. Veterinarians have completely and up-to-date information about all medicines and interactions right at their fingertips. So, if your pet needs different medicines to make them feel better, your veterinarian can see what’s best for them just by using VPR Cloud.

If your veterinary office hasn’t started using VPR Cloud, now’s the perfect time to try it, absolutely free. Contact us for more information about how VPR Cloud can help your practice become more successful.

Communication is the Key to Prevent Drug Interactions in Pets

There’s something wrong with your dog and you’re not exactly sure what it is. You just got back from the veterinarian a couple of hours ago and now your dog seems to be vomiting. Without knowing it, your dog might be having a drug interaction.

Communication between yourself and your veterinarian is a crucial element when it comes to avoiding drug interactions. Another is veterinarians who use VPR Cloud at their practice, but I’ll get to that later.

Tell Your Veterinarian Everything

Owners should be concerned if their pet is on more than one medication, but you always want to bring up with your veterinarian any over-the-counter drugs your pet might be taking, or any other drug that this particular vet hasn’t prescribed.

For example, if you’ve been giving your dog Benadryl for a long period of time on the advice of a veterinarian you saw three years ago in a different state, since it doesn’t require a prescription, you might not have mentioned it to your new veterinarian.

Different medicines have different effects. Let’s say one drug has the side effect of sedation. And a second drug has the same side effect. You might be giving your dog something that will cause it to be more sedated than you would expect with this one medication alone. It’s a very simplistic example, but it’s valid.

Both the Owner and the Vet Have Responsibilities

The owner has the responsibility to make sure the veterinarian knows everything their pet is taking over the counter. What else is this dog on that the vet might not know about? It is also partly the responsibility of the veterinarian to ask.

Some people don’t consider aspirin a drug – they might just say, “Well, it’s just aspirin.” We try not to have owners giving their pets aspirin, but it happens sometimes. Owners give their pets medicines that are made for humans that could potentially cause a problem.

However, if I don’t know you’re giving your dog aspirin and I prescribe your dog carprofen, which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, compounded with aspirin, I’m going to double the chance of side effects because they both have the same adverse side effect potential. Both of them can cause stomach ulcers, both of them can cause liver damage, and both of them can cause kidney damage. If you use both of them together, you get double the possibility.

Does it mean you’re definitely going to get it? No, but it increases your risk and that’s something that everyone needs to know beforehand. If you never tell me the dog is on aspirin, then I can never warn you about the risks of me prescribing this other drug to you.

What to Watch for with Drug Interactions

Owners should be on the lookout for anything unusual. It can be anything from vomiting, to diarrhea, to sedation, lethargy, any kind of neurological problems – there are some flea medications that can interact with other medicines the animals are on. There can be some neurological issues where the animal will be staggering around and things so severe that it could even cause a seizure, in rare cases.

Even if your pet has a flea or tick collar, it could cause an interaction. There are organophosphate-type products – flea medication, tick medication, or dewormers – that could potentially interact with a dog having a flea or tick collar on.

If your dog has separation anxiety and they’re on anipryl and you put on a tick collar, that’s a potential for interaction. If you didn’t let the doctor know they had on a tick collar, the veterinarian wouldn’t necessarily pick up on that interaction.

Using VPR Cloud is the Best Way to Prevent Drug Interactions

This is the whole reason why I use VPR Cloud, because I don’t have the kind of knowledge base as a practicing veterinarian that a pharmacist would have, so I don’t always know what interactions are possible. So, I rely on my VPR Cloud to tell me if there’s going to be a reaction with putting these two drugs together.

I know that you should not give a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug along with a steroid because you might increase the side effects with both drugs with that combination. I don’t use prednisone and carprofen together. These are just a few that I know off the top of my head. All of the other ones I go to the VPR Cloud and make sure I don’t create a mess.

VPR Cloud also prints out tremendously important client information sheets that give you information you need about your pet. The sheets let you know that if your dog is on any other kind of medication, please alert your veterinarian as other interactions are possible, and it includes over-the-counter medications.

The client information sheets help to educate the owner so that they’ll know if their dog is super sedated they might have forgotten to tell the vet that their dog is taking Benadryl, too. Sometimes owners forget things until they get home. That’s when they’ll call the veterinary and ask, “Hey, is there an interaction with these two drugs?”

VPR Cloud is the only vet reference built by vets, for vets. For a no-risk free trial, visit VPR Cloud today.

Client Education Should Play a Vital Role in Your Veterinary Practice

When a client comes into your office with their sick pet, they know you’re going to do your best to fix whatever the problem might be. They don’t really know what you’re doing, they just know you’re helping. That’s why client education should be more of a priority for your office.

Of course, the owners are going to want to know what the problem was and what was done to fix it, but there should be more to it than that. Owners need to know the problem, the cause of the problem, how to prevent the problem from happening again, ways to fix the problem, and what they, as the owner, need to do for their pet.

Remember, owners come to you for your wisdom as well, so passing along client education is essential to your practice in several ways.

Client education provides a better relationship with the owner

Client education is one of the most important ways to increase customer satisfaction at any veterinary practice. A confused customer is someone you will likely not see again. Not only that, if the customer does not fully understand the next steps for their pet’s care, then the animal may not get the appropriate post-appointment attention.

Clients don’t want to feel like a number. The “get’em in, get’em out” mentality never goes over well with any business, much less veterinary clinics.

The key part of client education is trust. When you spend the time talking with the clients, letting them know exactly what is going on and making them feel like their pet is just as important as your own, that builds a level of trust that will reward you in many ways.

You became a veterinary because you care for animals, that’s a given. When the client sees that, they understand that what you’re telling them is important, causing them to be more likely to follow your orders in taking care of their pets.

Client education provides a better financial situation

While you don’t want to rush clients out the door, you still need to run your clinic, making sure you see pets that need to be seen, and do as much as you can in a day. As much as you love your job, it is still a job.

Having a better relationship with the owners because of client education can lead to the client continuing to come to your practice for pet checkups or when their pet is sick, which leads to more revenue. Perhaps the client tells their friends how thorough you were and they, too, start coming to your clinic. Again, more revenue. Spending 30 seconds educating the client now can significantly increase your customer base.

While revenue is important – it is what keeps the lights on, after all – one of the easiest ways to achieve more of it is through client education.

What if you don’t have time to spend on client education?

It is a dilemma making sure you’re doing all you can for a pet, giving all the information to the clients, and still making sure you have enough time left in the day to see all of the other clients on your schedule. It may not be impossible, but it is definitely an issue going through the process day in and day out.

All vets have a limited time to focus on each client. It became such a problem that Dr. Teresa Koogler, one of the founders of VPR Cloud, decided she needed to do something about it. As part of her way to give as much client education as she could to the client, she created client information sheets.

Client information sheets provide information about pets to their owners. It also provides comprehensive information about prescriptions that might be prescribed for your pet, including the reason why the drug is being prescribed, the cautions associated, and any side effects that are possible with the use of the drug.

You can also feel confident that you have provided informed consent when you highlight the important points and send a client information sheet home with the pet owner so they have the most accurate information in their hands after their appointment. This is a great way to keep the patient healthy, and the client happy.

As a veterinarian, using VPR Cloud is the perfect way to balance client education with the right amount of time. Not only does it provide you with up-to-date information about drugs, treatments, and correct dosages, it also gives you comprehensive information about your client and their pets, which allows you to see their medical history, what you’ve prescribed before, and how it might interact with something you might need to give them now.

Client education is one of the most important things you can provide, and using VPR Cloud can help you with that tremendously. You can even try out a demo, just to see if you like it. Contact us for more details on how we can help your practice get even better.

VPR Cloud – What It Is, Why It’s Valuable, and Why You Need this Technology

Imagine your veterinary clinic right now. OK, now focus on how many different animals you’ll see over the course of the day. Chances are, it’s probably a lot. Now, think about the number of prescriptions, instructions, owners, etc., you’ll have to deal with all day long.

If you’re blood pressure spiked just a little there, you’re not alone. While most veterinary clinics have moved from paper files to computer files, the paper trail will always be there. And while having files digitized in your system is nice, this technology isn’t exactly everything when it comes to the tools you’ll need throughout the day.

What if we told you there was a program that could:

  • Quickly lookup medications
  • Figure out the correct dosage based on factors such as weight
  • Manage owner and patient information at the touch of a finger
  • Print prescriptions and drug information sheets
  • Help you with antiparasitic agents
  • And provide you with a drug interactions matrix tool

Would you still be interested in this technology? Of course you would! This program saves you time, saves you lots of unneeded stress and headaches, and saves you money, too.

Welcome to VPR Cloud

VPR Cloud was created for veterinarians, by veterinarians. Accessible online from any device, the technology behind VPR Cloud can dramatically change the way you do your job.

Login from any device

You can log in to the VPR application in any browser on any device. All you need is an internet connection. Simply visit app.vprcloud.com in your device’s browser and enter your email and password to access the application. It’s that easy!

Drug Search and Reference

Once you’re logged into the application, you are able to quickly search for any drug using the search bar at the top of the screen. Simply start to type, and the application will suggest drugs that match your search query. Click on a drug to see detailed information, including indication data for that drug.

Drug Indications and Treatments

When viewing a drug, we will show you all the indications and treatments for that drug on the left side of the page. When you click on a treatment, a popup window will show you more details, including pre-treatment & administration notes. It will also give you quick access to the dosage calculator.

Dosage Calculator

When viewing the treatment popup window, you can easily hit the calculator icon to bring up the Dosage Calculator. Dosage values will be pre-populated (based on the treatment you’re viewing) so all you need to do is enter the patient’s weight, and a dosage will be calculated for you.

Interactions Matrix Tool

With our Interactions Matrix tool, you can select two or more drugs, and quickly see which interactions those drugs have against each other.

Owner and Patient Management

With our owner and patient management tools, you can easily keep track of your patients and any drugs you have prescribed.

Printing Prescriptions and Drug Info Sheets

You can easily preview and print patient prescriptions and drug information sheets that you can hand to your client.

PIM Integration

VPR Cloud integrates with several PIMS to provide you with an unmatched experience. Increase the impact of VPR Cloud with one of our PIM integrations. Is VPR Cloud not integrated to your PIM? Reach out to your PIM and ask about VPR Cloud.

Client Information Sheets

You can easily preview and print patient prescriptions and drug information sheets that you can hand to your client.

Antiparasitics Agents Tool

With our Antiparasitics Agents Tool, you can select a species and a drug, and quickly see which parasites that drug is effective against.

Technology has Changed the Vet Game, Have You?

As a practicing vet, you don’t have time to thumb through pages of cellular biology and pharmacokinetics to get what you need to help your patient.

VPR Cloud is built for today’s practicing vet, giving you the information you need, with the technology that makes it easy for you to make the right decision.

Veterinarians have found that the VPR program has dramatically changed the way they are able to do their jobs, saving them and their staff time and money. As a result, clients are more informed and excited about the improved service they are receiving.

Now is the time to use VPR Cloud in your own practice. Right now, you can start using VPR Cloud absolutely free for 14 days – no credit card required. After 14 days, you’ll definitely see the benefits the technology of VPR Cloud can bring to your practice.

Contact us today and move your practice closer to the future.

Veterinary Terms Owners Need to Know

As a veterinarian, you have the advantage of having years of education and practical experience on your side when it comes to diagnosing an animal and the terminology that goes along with it.

Pet owners, however, don’t have that luxury. All they have is a sick or injured pet that needs help while the owner needs answers. While many pet owners will know basic terms, such as biopsy, neuter, and rabies, there are plenty of others they probably should know, and you’re the best person to share these terms with them and what they mean.

Here are 12 veterinary terms you should make sure you share with pet owners.

Anthlmintics

Anthelmintics are a group of antiparasitic drugs that expel parasitic worms and other internal parasites from the body by either stunning or killing them and without causing significant damage to the host. They may also be called vermifuges (those that stun) or vermicides (those that kill).

Cognitive Dysfunction

Cognitive dysfunction syndrome is a condition related to the aging of a dog’s brain, which ultimately leads to changes in awareness, deficits in learning and memory, and decreased responsiveness to stimuli. Although the initial symptoms of the disorder are mild, they gradually worsen over time, also known as “cognitive decline.” In fact, clinical signs of cognitive dysfunction syndrome are found in 50 percent of dogs over the age of 11, and by the age of 15, 68 percent of dogs display at least one sign.

Distemper

Also known as canine distemper, it is a contagious and serious viral illness with no known cure. The disease affects dogs, and certain species of wildlife, such as raccoons, wolves, foxes, and skunks. The common house pet, the ferret, is also a carrier of this virus. Young, unvaccinated puppies and non-immunized older dogs tend to be more susceptible to the disease.

Ectopic Ureters

An ectopic ureter is one which does not empty into the bladder as is normally expected. Rather, it empties urine into another location. One or both ureters may be involved. Dogs with ectopic ureters have symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Males are often asymptomatic, which means that they do not display any outward signs of having the condition. Dogs with only one affected ureter may continue to pass urine normally.

Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)

GDV is a veterinary term also known as “bloat,” “stomach torsion,” or “twisted stomach.” GDV is an extremely serious condition, and should be considered a life-threatening emergency when it occurs. Dogs can die of bloat within several hours. Even with treatment, as many as 25-33 percent of dogs with GDV die.

Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease

Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease involves spontaneous degeneration of the head on the femur bone, located in the dog’s hind leg. This results in disintegration of the hip joint (coxofemoral) and bone and joint inflammation (osteoarthritis). The exact cause of the condition is unknown, though blood supply issues to the femoral head are usually seen in dogs suffering from Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease. It is commonly seen in miniature, toy, and small-breed dogs, and has a genetic basis in Manchester terriers. Moreover, most dogs affected with Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease are five to eight months in age.

Mast Cell Tumors

Mast cell tumors (or mastocytomas) are graded according to their location in the skin, presence of inflammation, and how well they are differentiated. Grade 1 cells are well differentiated with a low potential for metastasis; Grade 2 cells are intermediately differentiated with a potential for locally invasive metastasis; and Grade 3 cells are poorly differentiated or undifferentiated with a high potential for metastasis. Differentiation is a determination of how much a particular tumor cell looks like a normal cell; the more differentiated, the more like the normal cell. In general, the more differentiated the mast cell tumor is, the better the prognosis is. Boxers, bulldogs, pugs, and Boston terriers appear to be more susceptible to mast cell tumors than other breeds. The mean age for the development of this condition is eight years in dogs, though it has been reported in animals less than one year of age.

Off label

Off label is a veterinary term used to describe the use of a medication for a condition for which it was not FDA approved. A large number of medications used in veterinary medicine are used ‘off label.’ If veterinarians only used FDA approved medications, options for treatments of certain conditions would be severely limited or nonexistent. The safety and efficacy of off-label uses of medications are often determined in university research settings, but the manufacturer of the drug does submit the results or go through the elaborate FDA approval process.

Parvovirus

The canine parvovirus (CPV) infection is a highly contagious viral illness that affects dogs. The virus manifests itself in two different forms. The more common form is the intestinal form, which is characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and lack of appetite (anorexia). The less common form is the cardiac form, which attacks the heart muscles of very young puppies, often leading to death. The majority of cases are seen in puppies that are between six weeks and six months old. The incidence of canine parvovirus infections has been reduced radically by early vaccination in young puppies.

Separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is a behavioral condition in which the pet becomes anxious when separated from the owner. Dogs with separation anxiety tend to ‘shadow’ their owners, greet them exuberantly when they return after being gone, and sometimes vocalize, chew destructively, and urinate or defecate when separated from their owners.

Titer

Titer is a measurement of the amount of antibodies in the blood. The test to measure antibodies is usually performed by making a number of dilutions of the blood and then measuring at what dilution there is sufficient antibody to react in the test. For example, a titer of 1:8 means the blood can be diluted to one part blood and seven parts saline and still produce a positive reaction in the test. The higher the titer (1:16 is higher than 1:8), the more antibody is present.

Whelping

Whelping is the term used for when a dog gives birth.

Of course, it can be difficult to remember everything when it comes to veterinary terms, especially when it comes to medicines for pets. That’s where VPR Cloud can help you.

With VPR Cloud, our goal is to easily integrate with you, and provide improved functionality with access to the constantly updated VPR drug resource. We are veterans of the industry, so we know what veterinarians like you need.

Sign up today for a no-risk, free trial and see the difference VPR Cloud can make for you.

For veterinary practices, better care means more revenue

“Oh, I just love it here because over at ‘Practice A’ you just feel like a number. They were just getting you in, doing the minimum, and getting you out the door.”

I’ve heard this criticism before. It’s an easy and dangerous trap to fall into – getting as many appointments into your office in an 8- or 10-hour shift. In order to get through all of those appointments, you could end up spending very little time tending to an animal’s needs while leaving the owner wanting a bit more attention.

It can be easy to think that more appointments mean more money, but in reality, better medicine means more money. If you do a workup, X-rays, and blood work to give the animal what it really needs to get a diagnosis and proper treatment, that’s more money. It’s hard to see that if you are solely focusing on increasing the number of clients that come in and out of your practice.

I can’t stress this enough; better medicine means better money and better owner relationships.

Sometimes the Best Veterinary Practices are Out of Your Hands

There are times when you want to do what’s right by the animal and the owner, but the owner has a different idea. This all comes down to people’s value of their pets.

If the owner’s pet is like their child, they will want to be there for an hour and want to ask 1,500 questions and get all of the workups, so they feel like they’ve been given the extra effort and the extra care. If that is what they want, then give that to them. Otherwise, they will look for a new veterinarian that will.

There are those, however, that are not willing to spend even $100 on their pet. These are people that don’t want to be bothered by answering any of your questions. They just want to drop off their cat, have you give it a pill, and make it better.

Of course, those are the two ends of the spectrum. Most people who come in will land anywhere between those two sides. Sometimes, though, it’s not just about how much they care for their pet.

When Finances Become an Issue

There are obvious expenses when it comes to owning a pet. Veterinary visits are one of those expenses. Unfortunately, just like a visit to a hospital for a person, a visit to a veterinary clinic for a pet can be expensive.

Although owners may very well want to do what’s best for their pet, you have to take finances into account.

In these situations, I start off by going into detail with the owner what’s wrong with the pet and what should be done. Let’s say, for instance, a dog comes in and I suspect he has a herniated disk. In order to absolutely know that, I would need to refer the dog to a neurologist and schedule an MRI.

Not everyone has an extra $5,000 to go that route. You’ll sometimes get pushback from patients with that option and they’ll ask for other options. I’ll tell them what another option is – even though I still suspect it’s a herniated disk and should get an MRI.

If we don’t go with my first plan, we can go a cheaper route, but there are risks. For example, if the swelling around the herniated disk gets worse, the animal could become paralyzed. On top of that, are you going to actually give the dog the medicine they need at the right time every day, take them outside in the cage so they can go to the bathroom, and put them immediately back in the cage to bring inside? These are legitimate questions, as dogs can be quite heavy and giving pets medicine might not be on the list of things you’d like to do. It is difficult to give that much attention to your pet when you have so many other things going on in your life.

In the long run, Option B could just wind up being a Band-Aid, meaning the owner could spend more money by not going with the first option.

There are instances where this route will potentially get you from Point A to Point B with the same result. As veterinarians, we don’t always know that. We can try a cheaper option, as long as the owner understands that we may lose the opportunity to fix your pet because we’re trying something cheaper, meanwhile not knowing what we’re dealing with. It’s an option that sometimes exists, but if we always use that option, it’s not going to benefit the animal in the long run.

If you spend time communicating this information to the owner instead of rushing them out the door, there’s a better chance they will understand the importance of doing these procedures and tests. This, in turn, will result in more money for your practice.

When in Doubt, Always Err on the Side of Caution

The best way to handle all of this, in a perfect world, is to get a thorough history and physical exam on every patient, regardless of what it takes. Always let the owner know the upside of following your recommendation versus the downside of not listening to you. If the owner is willing to accept the risk, follow through with their wishes.

Most of the time, though, it all comes down to education for the owner. Take the time to let them know what’s going on, what’s needed, and what’s best for their pet. Remember, they’re coming to you because you have the knowledge to hopefully make their pet better.

It also helps to have the right tools so you can be the very best vet you can be. For an accurate and up-to-date drug search, printable drug information, and more, I turn to VPRCloud. VPRCloud has all of the tools you need to provide top-notch care to your clients, so reach out and see how your practice can benefit from using VPRCloud.

How to Get Clients to Follow Your Instructions for Pet Care

pet care instructions

Some of my clients go above and beyond when it comes to taking care of their pets. They are extended members of your family, so when a dressing needs to be changed or when medicines need to be given, even though it might not be easy, the clients do it.

It goes without saying that pet owners love their furry family members. Sometimes, for veterinary clients, following through on their vet’s instructions – to the letter – is left up to interpretation. Does the pet need to use ALL of the medicine? Surely, it’s OK to wait until tomorrow to change that dressing. My pet doesn’t seem like they’re complaining, so they must be fine.

Just like human patients sometimes misunderstand or misinterpret what their doctor says, the same can be said about some pet owners, even though they mean well and truly do care about their pets. Frankly, it’s not always easy to figure out how to best care for your animal.

Compliance is Huge

Whenever I interact with a pet, the owner gets a thorough client information sheet letting them know about the medications I am prescribing and potential side effects of the medications. I go over these sheets with all my clients. This is one of the many ways I make sure that clients have all the understanding and resources they need to care for their pet.

Compliance, on the other hand, is a different matter. Clients sometimes hate what needs to be done, even though they know the need, importance, and benefit of doing it.

For example, if a client comes in with a dog who has an ear infection, we can treat the infection with drops, clean out the ear, and give the owner details on how to prevent this in the future. That can be gross. Some clients, when caring for an animal with an ear infection, clean the ears for a few times but stop short of what was prescribed. Often times they’re going to be back in my office with the same problem.

Communication to Owners Goes a Long Way

I’ve found over the years that if you go into detail – and ask questions along the way – you’ll not only get a better understanding of what’s going on, but owners will as well.

If the dog with the ear infections likes to go swimming in the nearby creek, that could be causing the problem. Asking about the habits of the dog might clue you into the dog’s creek swimming habits. At that point, you can talk with the owner about ways to help the pup avoid the nasty infections. One way is to squirt cleaning solution in their ears to clear them out. It’s a good practice regardless of whether they go swimming. Problem is, dogs don’t like having that done, so it might seem like a hassle for the owners, who in turn might not do it as often.

Not cleaning out your dog’s ears on a regular basis is what can lead to those infections. But here’s the thing – talking over all of this with the owners, giving them the importance of doing it versus not doing it and having to come in again and again, is what will keep them on task.

It also helps to have a vet owners can trust and who spends enough time with them to talk about all of these issues. Working with them makes them feel like you care about them and makes your relationship that much better. You’re giving them your knowledge. That’s what they’re paying for, not just medicine.

Along those same lines, you sometimes need to be straightforward with your clients. You need to tell them what’s happening with their pets so they have a better understanding. There are times when owners really don’t know how sick their pets truly are until they actually do come into the office.

Owners can be shocked to know that dogs get cancer, or diabetes, or brain tumors. People don’t realize the amount of pain it takes for a dog to cry out in pain. They could be curled up in a ball on the floor and still not cry out in pain. The owner thinks, “Well, they’re not crying, so I guess they’re OK?” That’s why it’s so vitally important for vets to talk with their clients.

Turning the Light Bulb on for Owners

There are some animals who have chronic problems. For certain dogs, they get chronic ear infections. They have skin allergies, and the skin inside their ears is the same as the skin on the outside of their body. The skin inside the ear gets inflamed and it’s difficult for the gunk inside to get out. When that happens, you have an infection.

Once they come into your office and you clear out the ear with the cleaning liquid, you can then talk with the owner about the best way to handle this situation. Once the infection has cleared, if they use this cleaning fluid twice a week, it’ll likely never come back. When you make the effort to tell them how and why to do it, they are more likely to follow through with care instructions.

When they put two and two together, they see that it does help. That is their lightbulb moment. Hopefully, at that point, their pet will have no more of these issues.

In the end, it all comes down to simply talking to your client, making sure they have things like client information sheets and going over it with them so you let them know what’s going on.

It also helps to have the right tools so you can be the very best vet you can be. For an accurate and up-to-date drug search, printable drug information, and more, I turn to VPRCloud. VPRCloud has all of the tools you need to provide top-notch care to your clients, so reach out and see how your practice can benefit from using VPRCloud.

3 Tips to Running A Successful Veterinary Practice

veterinary practice

Running a successful veterinary practice is anything but a walk in the park. Whether it is the emotional distress of giving a client a bad diagnosis or the financial stress of a slow couple of months, it seems you always have too much on your plate. Some veterinarians thrive in this high-stress environment and some don’t. I am here to help you thrive.

There is a lot that goes into running a successful veterinary practice, but the first step is finding the balance between being a business owner and veterinarian. Far easier said than done.

Be A Good Veterinarian and a Good Business Owner

Through many years in the veterinary industry, I have found that there are great veterinarians and great business owners. The most successful practice owners, however, are able to balance being good veterinarians and business owners.

As a veterinarian, you probably got into the industry because you enjoy giving top-notch care to the pets that walk in your office. That is essential, but it is also essential to focus on the business aspects of running a practice. If a veterinarian takes great care of the patient but triple-books appointments, maintains prices higher than the market allows, and has a high employee turnover, then they are making it harder for everyone. As strange as it sounds, being a great veterinarian isn’t all it takes to run a veterinary practice.

If they want to build the practice into a successful business that lasts for many years to come,  a veterinarian will need to maintain a balance between being a business owner and a veterinarian. Take great care of patients, but understand client satisfaction comes from the entirety of their experience, not just the end result. Make their trip to your office a smooth and pleasurable experience so they come back time and time again.

Honesty and Communication in Your Veterinary Practice

Take the time to explain in detail, in words that your client can understand, what is wrong with their furry family members, and give them resources to get even more information. This is where client information sheets come in handy. You can explain the medication you are prescribing and then send home the sheet that gives the client all the information you went over with them during the appointment should they have any questions.

Clear and concise communication is just as important as honesty. After seeing their pet, explain to them what was wrong, how it happened, and what you are doing about it. Enough information that they feel like they have a thorough grasp on the condition of their animal.

Employee Management

Employee management is part of the business owner aspect we considered before, but it is important enough that it needs to be discussed separately. Not only that, but it is something that is especially difficult as a veterinary practice owner. Good help is hard to find, so when you find a great employee, do everything you can to keep them. Giving them more responsibility and letting them grow into their job can be just as significant. At the very least, treat your employees with respect and show your gratitude when they do a good job. You may think your employees know that you appreciate them, but if you haven’t told them then they don’t. It takes 30 seconds and can be the difference between sharing your work load with someone who understands the value of their position and spending the next three months looking for a replacement.

These are easier said than done, but they are absolutely essential if you plan to grow your practice. To do all of this, however, you need tools. Client information sheets increase communication and help educate your clients about the medications you are prescribing as well as help your staff understand what kinds of side effects to look for in hospitalized patients. The more your staff knows, the more they can help teach the clients and the better care you are going to be able to provide to your patients. Having a drug interaction matrix (the ability to check for drug interaction potential between many different drugs) can also increase the quality of care. All of these tools, and much more, are conveniently available via VPRCloud. Interested in growing your practice, but need the infrastructure and support to do it? Sign up for a free trial!

Understanding the Tools that the VPR Drug Index Offers

veterinary drug index

Beyond a Veterinary Drug Index

VPR Cloud is a veterinary drug index that includes a number of helpful tools for your veterinary practice. For the average veterinarian, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the demands and pressures you face each day. It only makes matters worse when it takes so long to find what you need from a typical veterinary drug index. Luckily, VPR Cloud is not a typical drug index. It provides everything a veterinary practice needs to improve functionally and to better serve clients.

VPR Cloud goes beyond a simple drug index providing tools like an interactive drug search, client info sheets, a drug interaction matrix, and so much more. In order to fully understand all the benefits that VPR drug index could provide to your veterinary practice, it is best to understand what some of these tools actually do.

While it may seem like a lot of tools to review, you definitely don’t want your practice to miss out on all the benefits VPR Cloud has to offer. Let us introduce you to a few of these tools.

All The Tools You Could Need, In One Place

Interactive Drug Search

In print veterinary drug indexes, you have to flip through countless pages to find the information you are looking for. They provide no easy and interactive way to search for drugs. VPR Cloud, on the other hand, is constantly updated and can be used on any device to search for the information you need at any given moment.

The interactive drug search tool is able to suggest matches online based on your search query and meet all of your pharmaceutical needs. Whether you need to know side effects or different brand names, the interactive drug search tool will help you locate all the information you need. Through the interactive drug search tool, you can click on any drug to see detailed information in an organized bullet point format.

Printable Drug Information, Client Information Sheets, and Consent Forms

Having the ability to print information from your veterinary drug index is more than simply convenient. Printable drug information furthers client education by allowing clients to take home all the drug information they could need. They have time to bring the sheet home and take the time to really understand the treatments.

Client information sheets were developed as a tool for VPR Cloud to make client education as easy and comprehensive as possible. They provide everything that your client could want to know in one place. Simply give the client a brief explanation of what was wrong with the patient and what the treatment plan is, then hand them the sheet. It will explain the reasons why the drug is being prescribed, the cautions related, and any side effects that are possible with the use of the drug. Handling, storage, and administration details are also included on client information sheets.

VPR Cloud includes off-label/anesthesia consent forms that you can print off for the client to sign. Off-label drugs have the potential to help certain conditions but also come with risks. The possible risks of off-label drugs make it a necessity for clients to be informed about the drug and to provide legal consent. It is important to consider the potential risks and benefits when prescribing off-label drugs, but with these consent forms, doing so has become much easier.

You can rest assured that you have provided informed consent when you hand a client information sheet home with the pet owner. You know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have the all the necessary information in their hands after their appointment. Printable drug information, client education sheets, and consent forms all function to provide quick access to information that will help educate clients.

Drug Dosage Calculator

The importance of a drug dosage can sometimes be overlooked or miscalculated when you are trying to take care of 4 clients simultaneously.. Some vets may try to do the math in their head and make mistakes that could end up harming their pet more than helping them. To avoid making mistakes, many vets turn to rummaging around for a calculator every time they need to prescribe a medication. The dosage calculator tool that VPR veterinary drug index offers solves this issue by making dosage calculations convenient and accurate.

You can access the drug dosage calculator on the treatment popup window by selecting the calculator icon. The dosage values will already be pre-populated based on the particular indication you’re viewing. All you need is provide is the patient’s weight for a dosage to be calculated. With the VPR Cloud dosage calculator, searching for that elusive calculator is a thing of the past!

Drug Interaction Matrix, Interactive Anti-Parasitic Charts, and Conversion Charts

Drug interactions are another factor that each veterinarian has to take into account when prescribing medication. It is not uncommon for drugs to interact, and it is nearly impossible for a veterinarian to remember the potential drug interactions with all veterinary drugs. The drug interaction matrix tool gives veterinarians access to all the potential drug interactions that they may come across. In order to use the tool, you only have to choose two medications that may be combined and select “Calculate Interactions” for a detailed list of interactions to appear. It is that easy.

Medications used to treat parasites, for example, are generally only effective for a limited about of parasites, and you are bound to mix up what parasites are treated by each drug if you try to rely on memory. With only the name of the drug and species of your patient, anti-parasitic charts inform you about what parasites each drug is able to treat. Conversation charts are used as needed to make the life of a veterinarian easier.  No calculations are necessary. A quick look at the charts is all that you need.

Tools that Work Together

With each of these tools, the treatment of each patient is made significantly easier. The tools work together to help the veterinarian provide better care with less stress involved. VPR veterinary drug index goes beyond the traditional index to help meet all the needs of modern veterinarians.

If you are interested in implementing this information into your own life, you can learn more about VPR Cloud by starting a free trial today!

Major Veterinary Drug Interactions in Dogs and Cats

veterinary drug interaction

Use Caution with Major Drug Interactions

When treating clients with multiple or complicated conditions, it is hard to keep track of all the potential veterinary drug interactions! That being said, it’s also extremely important to be aware of how drugs interact with one another. Some of them can cause worse symptoms than the ones the client came in with. The last thing you want is for an animal to leave your practice worse than when it came in.

Whenever you prescribe multiple medications, it is best to double-check (or triple-check) for potential interactions and to use caution with drugs that are known to have major drug interactions.

With that in mind, let’s review four important veterinary drug interactions – as well as a simple way to make this whole process easier.

Remember These Four Drug Interactions

Cimetidine, Sucralfate, Ketoconazole, and Metoclopramide are all veterinary drugs with major interactions. Even for experienced veterinarians, it is always a good idea to refresh your knowledge of important drugs as well as their side effects and interactions.

Cimetidine

Cimetidine could be the drug needed to treat your client’s mast cell tumor, but it is absolutely critical to weigh the possible side effects and veterinary drug interactions! This drug was listed in the top ten drug interactions that dogs and cats experience.

Cimetidine is an anti-ulcer drug and a major P450 enzyme inhibitor. It can only be prescribed for cats and dogs as an extra-label drug to treat mast cell tumors, gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus), and gastric or esophageal reflux. Although cimetidine is often safe under the supervision of a veterinarian, there are certain precautions and drug interactions that are important for all veterinarians to be aware of.

Cimetidine decreases the clearance of many drugs which can lead to drug toxicity. Knowing the drug dosage will aid veterinarians and vet technicians in determining the significance of potential drug interactions. Depending on the dose of chloramphenicol, cimetidine may interact negatively and cause a reduction in the number of white blood cells in the body (leukopenia). Mixing cimetidine with metronidazole or lidocaine can lead to neurologic side effects, and theophylline and aminophylline combined with cimetidine may interact to cause theophylline toxicity.

There are many other drugs that interact with cimetidine including warfarin, propranolol, diazepam, and midazolam. Cimetidine should be used with caution if administrating to older clients or those with blood diseases.

Additionally, there are some alternatives to cimetidine if your client is using another drug that might interact negatively. Anitidine, famotidine, or nizatidine are all H2 blockers, but not P450 enzyme inhibitors at therapeutic conditions. They are recommended for use if a client is on multiple drugs.

Sucralfate

Sucralfate drug is used to treat and prevent intestinal ulcers on a short term basis. While the drug can be very effective at treating ulcers in the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines, it also has potential drug interactions with several medications. Because it is an aluminum-containing drug, it can cause complexities with many other drugs in the GI tract, which decreases drug absorption.

For fluoroquinolones and tetracycline/doxycycline, sucralfate doesn’t allow for the drugs to absorb enough to have an active effect. For veterinary drugs that block H2, sucralfate delays but does not decrease the actual amount of absorption.

There are several other possible drug interactions, and some veterinarians recommend not combining the medication with other oral drugs because of the potential veterinary drug interactions. Serious side effects from taking sucralfate are rare, but some cats and dogs experience an allergic reaction and/or constipation from taking sucralfate.

Ketoconazole

Ketoconazole is used as a veterinary drug to treat certain serious fungal infections in the body and works by stopping the growth of fungus. It has a high potential to interact with other veterinary drugs. Ketoconazole is best absorbed at an acidic PH and should not be combined with drugs that will prevent the client from having an acidic PH like Omeprazole, H2 blockers, or other antacids. Ketoconazole also inhibits p-glycoprotein, an important drug efflux transporter in the intestine, kidney, and biliary tree. This can decrease the proportion that another drug enters into the circulation (bioavailability) after ketoconazole is consumed.

NOT ALL VETERINARY DRUG INTERACTIONS ARE NEGATIVE, HOWEVER, AND SOME CAN ACTUALLY BE BENEFICIAL TO THE CLIENT.

Taking both Cyclosporine and ketoconazole can allow clients to take lower doses of cyclosporine. There are recommended doses for cyclosporine, depending on the amount of ketoconazole a client is taking. It is important to consider all the details of drug interactions, dosage, client allergies, and potential side effects when providing service. Nausea and vomiting are the most common side effects for Ketoconazole.

Metoclopramide

Finally, another important veterinary drug with major interactions to be aware of is metoclopramide. Metoclopramide is prescribed to help with the quick passage of food through the upper digestive tract. It is sometimes used to treat disorders of the upper gastrointestinal tract like acid reflux disease. It has more side effects than most veterinary drugs, and it may increase seizure activity in animals with epilepsy and cause sedation, hyperactivity, changes in behavior, constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Metoclopramide is a dopaminergic (D2) antagonist and prokinetic agent with several important interactions. Increased absorption of acetaminophen, aspirin and alcohol overdoses can occur through interaction of the veterinary drugs. Enhanced tremor side effects are possible when metoclopramide interacts with phenothiazines (e.g. chlorpromazine, acepromazine) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (e.g. fluoxetine), or with renal insufficiency.

Metoclopramide may interact with all of the following drugs: cimetidine, acetaminophen, aspirin, central nervous system depressant or sedative, derivatives of tetracycline, anticholinergic, anticoagulant, and diazepam.

How to Stay Informed about Drug Interactions?

Obviously, there are a lot of drug interactions to remember – and, unless you’re gifted with a photographic memory, you probably won’t be able to remember all of them. Chances are, you won’t even remember all of the veterinary drug interactions we’ve discussed in this article.

That’s why it’s important to be able to provide veterinary client education and to have quick access to veterinary drug information that you can communicate to your client so that they are able to make the most informed choice. Searching for all of your drug interaction information on Google and looking up articles such as this one is a slow and ineffective way to receive information about drug interactions, dosages, and side effects.

Fortunately, there’s a better way to stay informed about drug interactions- VPR Cloud.

VPR Cloud is an online and comprehensive veterinary pharmacy reference that provides constantly updated drug information. VPR Cloud will make keeping up-to-date on all the potential and major veterinary drug interactions much easier for you and your veterinary practice. If you want to find out about all that VPR Cloud offers, visit VPRCloud.com and sign up for a free 14-day trial!