The Three Key Questions of Veterinary Client Education

Pet owners visit your clinic in a variety of mental states – some are fine knowing their beloved pet is getting routine care, while others are frantic if it’s an emergency. In every case, the keys to veterinary client education are the same.

Think about the last time you dealt with a pet owner, or even the last 100 times. There’s a good chance these three questions, in some form, were asked by the owner:

  • What’s wrong with my pet?
  • What are you doing about it/What did you do about it?
  • What are the next steps?

Sound familiar? Of course, since this is an everyday occurrence, you deal with these questions day in and day out. It should be second nature at this point. Therein lies the problem – once you start doing something every day, over and over, it becomes a routine. When things become a routine, there’s a chance of switching into autopilot.

Pet owners don’t realize you deal with these same three questions every single day and, because of that, might not be able to tell when you’ve switched to autopilot. You’re giving them the information they’re asking you for, but you might not be giving them as much information as they need. If there’s a small, yet valuable, piece of information you might forget to mention, the veterinary client education process starts to become lacking.

This is not to say you’re doing anything wrong – you’re still very good at your job. However, when something becomes a repetitive task, some things fall by the wayside. It happens to everyone in every business all over the world. It’s just a part of the human condition.

The purpose of this article is to go back over these three questions and to look at some ways to help with veterinary client education. While it might seem as though you’re reading over stuff you already know, it’s never a bad idea to just have a little refresher to bring these things back to the front of your mind and to pick up a few ideas to go the extra mile for your clients.

What’s Wrong with My Pet?

The very first question in the trifecta for veterinary client education. Unless it’s a routine checkup, the pet is brought in because something is wrong. At this point, if it’s not an injury or something rather obvious, you just have a few guesses as to what’s going on.

Depending on the situation, the pet owner’s mentality will be anywhere between slightly concerned to full-on panic mode. They want to know as soon as possible (they’re hoping for immediacy, but that’s not realistic) what is going on with their pet.

As an example for this article, let’s say that a pet owner brought in their dog, which is limping. The dog doesn’t seem to be able to put any weight on his left hind leg. You know what your process is in this case, but you need to let the owner know.

veterinary client education

      • DETAILS: Here’s where we start separating the “just doing your job” from “going the extra mile.” Explaining your next steps to the owner will not only help alleviate worries they might have, but it also goes a long way in increasing your reputation as a knowledgeable and kind veterinarian. This part of veterinary client education is quick, simple, and pay dividends in the end. In this case, you let the owner know that you want to take some X-rays to see what’s going on with their dog’s hind leg. It always helps to try to be as reassuring as possible, especially if the owner had to bring their children along. This could be very scary for young children, and making sure you let them know what’s going on – without using words and phrases they wouldn’t understand – puts them at ease and increases your standing in the eyes of their parents.

     

      • SUGGESTIONS: The results are back and it’s what you were expecting – the dog has a broken leg. The next step is to let the owner know and get some more information from them. When did they first notice something was wrong with the dog? How long has it been limping and has it gradually gotten worse? Chances are, you probably asked these questions before you sent the dog back for the X-ray, but now that you know exactly what you’re dealing with here, asking these questions with the owner might bring new information to light, especially if they know what’s going on. As it turns out, the owner started noticing the limp after they got back from a drive to the park. It’s possible the dog might have broken its leg jumping out of the car if the owner didn’t notice any limping at the park.

     

      • ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: Depending on the type of dog, you might want to let the owner know about any conditions this particular breed might have, such as weaker bones, problems with their hips, etc. The owner might already be aware of this information, but it’s still a good idea to bring it up with them in case they might not know or have forgotten. If you believe this condition led to the broken leg, let the owner know and advise them that they might want to think about where and how far down their dog has to jump.

      What Are You Doing/What Did You Do?

      Once the owner knows the situation and how it possibly happened, the next question they’re going to ask you is what your plan is for helping their pet. It’s a perfectly natural question to ask and, if you’ve fallen into the routine, you might just say something brief so you can proceed with the rest of your day at the clinic.

      Just as above, the veterinary client education process can be so much more than just doing something that leaves the pet owner feeling as though you’re giving them the brush off. Communication is always key, and spending a little extra time with each client might mean you don’t see as many animals in a day, but it improves your relationship with each owner, who will continue to come to you and give you glowing referrals.

        • WHAT YOU ARE DOING: In the case of this owner’s dog, you’re going to have to put the leg in a cast. Will you be able to do it without using anesthesia? Is surgery required? You should take the time to let the owner know what’s going on and what you need to do to help their dog. Money should never be an issue when it comes to the health of a pet, but there are times when a family simply cannot afford certain medical expenses. You hope that doesn’t become an issue, but you’ve probably seen this happen on more than one occasion. Not only do you need to let them know what needs to be done, but you need to let the owner know what will happen if it doesn’t get fixed. At that point, you and the owner might need to discuss options before going further.

       

        • WHAT CLIENTS NEED TO DO: Regardless of what you might have done to mend the dog’s hind leg, the next step falls on the owner. You need to let them know everything that needs to be client information sheetdone between now and the time the leg is fully healed. That means going over medicines the dog needs to take (how often, how much, and what to look for if the dog has a reaction), keeping the dog from trying to climb on things, making sure the dog doesn’t jump or do anything that might damage the bone before it fully heals, and encouraging them to make sure the dog does continue to walk around on the leg as it gradually gets stronger. As part of veterinary client education, it helps if you have client information sheets, such as the one seen here, to give to the owner so they have all this information handy.

       

      What Are the Next Steps?

      You’ve reached the last of the Big 3 questions – what’s next? The owner’s dog is bandaged up and ready to go home. Granted, they might still be a little dazed and loopy, especially if you had to give them anesthesia, but otherwise they’re good to go.

      It’s at this point you can wish the owner well and watch them walk out the door, or you can take just a few more seconds, go the extra mile, and know the owner leaves with all the information they need and that your attention to them will not go unrewarded. Veterinary client education comes to a point in these last few minutes.

        • WHEN TO COME BACK IN: The procedure went well and you’re not expecting any complications. Of course, you know good and well that complications can happen at any time. Because of this, you want to make sure the owner is aware of veterinary client educationanything that might happen. You don’t need to go into every single thing that could go wrong, but if you let the owner know about some things to watch for, it helps. Some things to consider: possible side effects of the anesthesia (if you used it); possible reactions from the medicine; if the limping doesn’t go away after a period of time; if the dog whines whenever they put weight on the leg; if the dog doesn’t want to walk, move, or eat. These are some things that will require them to either call you for your advice or bring the dog back into your clinic.

       

        • OTHER OBSERVATIONS: You can use this time to let the owner know of anything that might have popped into your mind while the dog was in your care. Do the owners need to do a better job of keeping the dog’s teeth clean? If its fur is matted, you might recommend either washing the dog more or taking it to a professional dog groomer. Anything else you can think of, such as traits of this particular breed of dog that might mean it heals slower, or any other information for that matter, is great to mention at this point.

       

      It Costs Little, But the Reward is Huge

      Spending the extra time with these patients and clients might seem like it would get monotonous after a while, but giving just that extra little 10 percent will see a great return on a small investment.

      Let’s look back at this example. Once the dog and its owner leave, at some point they’re probably going to run into a friend, who is also a pet owner. The conversation will no doubt focus on what happened to the dog. It’s at this point you better believe their visit to your clinic is going to be discussed. Good or bad, it will be discussed.

      veterinary client educationIf you spent just a few extra minutes here and there with the owner, making sure they felt as though you were genuine and that you truly cared about the dog’s well-being, the dog’s owner will make sure their friend knows what happened and how great you were. This, in turn, increases the chances that your clinic will see new clients.

      If, however, you spent the bare minimum amount of time with the owner, give them brief bits of information here and there, and usher them out the door in what the owner might see as record time, you can forget about any kind of recommendation. In fact, word will probably spread that you come across as a veterinarian who only cares about seeing as many patients as possible in a day. The lack of veterinary client education here will hurt you.

      What’s Next With Veterinary Client Education?

      Just a few minutes here and there during the patient’s visit to your clinic can mean so much. Sometimes, when a person is stuck on autopilot, these little things are glossed over.

      As you can see, though, forgetting these crucial elements can mean the difference between happy clients who come back and recommend you, and angry clients who start looking for another veterinary clinic. Good veterinary client education can save you every time.

      If it seems like you have more to do than you have actual time in which to do it, it might feel like you can’t spend the extra time with each of your clients. Fortunately, there is something that can help save you valuable time and effort.

      VPR Cloud, the veterinary reference built by veterinarians, for veterinarians, is here for you. As an online tool you can use on your computer, tablet, or phone, VPR Cloud has industry-leading (and continuously updated) pharmacology, combined with other tools and resources that make it a must-have for any veterinarian who’s pushed for time.

      What makes VPR Cloud so valuable is the ability to search medicines, drug interactions, and calculate correct dosages, in mere seconds, all at your fingertips. Saving the amount of time it would take for you to look these things up manually really adds up over time. Plus, you get the client information sheets that were mentioned earlier, as well as off label consent forms, conversion charts, and so much more.

      VPR Cloud is the one tool you’ll use that will pay for itself every time. To see how VPR Cloud works, and for more information about adding VPR Cloud to your practice, contact us today online, email us at sales@vprcloud.com, or give us a call at 855-247-2327.

Seven Ways to Take Your Veterinary Practice to the Next Level

Veterinarians, can we talk for a minute? Obviously, there are a lot of things on your mind when it comes to your practice. How stressed is everyone? Do we have enough patients? Do we have too many patients? Are we where we need to be? You have to answer all of these when you’re thinking about taking your veterinary practice to the next level.

Of course your veterinarians and vet techs are stressed out. The numbers pretty much confirm it. That’s not to say there aren’t ways to help manage the stress and depression, as we’ve written about it previously. So that much is out of the way.

If you ask most veterinarians, they’re probably going to say they’ve never had an issue where they had too many pets to treat, although they might have had too many scheduled at one time. More than likely, though, there’s a good chance some numbers have decreased or, because of finances, owners just don’t have the money to fully take care of their pets the way they should. This also leaves you in a bind (and adds to the stress), but there is hope.

Here are a few tips to help take your veterinary practice to the next level without breaking the bank.

Monitor clients’ wait times

It should come as absolutely no surprise that people do not like waiting. We’ve reached the point in our society where waiting for three days to receive a package in the mail is way too long. In order to take your veterinary practice to the next level, you have to keep an eye on how long people are waiting to see you.

Veterinary clinics can easily get off track when it comes to scheduling because of emergencies, walk-ins, extended visits, etc. It’s important for the front-desk staff to keep a tab on those in the waiting room, how long they’ve been there, and make every effort to get them back to see someone as soon as possible.

Because of this, your receptionist must have a take-charge personality. When someone’s in the waiting area for 30 minutes or more, they have to let those in the back know they need to pick up the pace. Without knowing about the backed-up schedule, veterinarians and technicians may not move as quickly through appointments.

Provide a comfort station

Helping keep clients comfortable while they wait is important. So, the idea of a comfort station is relatively inexpensive, but goes a long way with clients.

Could you get away with using televisions for your clients? If you have them, it’s a great way for clients to feel like time isn’t dragging on. On top of that, providing things such as bottles of water, coffee, snacks, or other things will help keep the clients comfortable while they wait.

Celebrate every pet

A person’s pet is essentially a family member for them. Going the extra mile to celebrate their loved one is a great way to take your veterinary practice to the next level.

Your options here are endless. Treats, toys, you name it, all go over well with the pets. And happy pets always lead to happy owners.

If you run into trouble thinking about things to do for the pets, you can always ask your clients in informal questionnaires. Figure out what works best for your clients and the results will only make things better for your practice.

Treat the children

There’s a good chance that if you own a pet, you probably have children. When people bring in their pets, they will more than likely have children with them. Depending on their age and the amount of waiting they have to do in the lobby, it could lead to a bit of a nasty scene.

It doesn’t have to, though. Most parents bring things with them to keep children occupied when in public (tablets, books, some sort of toys, etc.), but some might not. It’s always good to have something to keep children occupied there in the waiting room. A collection of books, an area set aside of children to play quietly with toys – these are just a few ideas. As a side note, be sure someone wipes down the toys and books with a disinfecting wipe to keep them germ free.

Once their pet is taken back, if it’s not an emergency situation, let them become involved with their pet. Let them hear their pet’s heartbeat and be sure to ask them if they have any questions. This costs you nothing, but makes the parent happy and it might land you another client when the child gets older. They always remember things like that when it happens to them.

Conduct follow-up calls

It’s always a great idea to follow up with your clients after they’ve visited you. With a follow-up call, you get to know how the pet is doing after the appointment – especially if it involves surgery – and see if the client has any questions they might not have thought about earlier.

If they are new clients, be sure to greet them warmly, as they may or may not be expecting a call from you. If it’s an on-going medical case, you should probably set up times to follow up in case there are any changes in the pet’s condition.

Track the source of new clients

Where are all these new clients coming from? If you don’t know the answer to that, it’s something you should seriously look into.

Once you understand where they’re coming from, your practice can better target its marketing. On every new-client information form, ask how the clients found your office. Typical responses include referrals, social media, and the internet. Make sure, though, that the people who come to you from different channels have a great experience from start to finish.

Use a monthly spreadsheet to plot out the responses. Once you’ve established an area, look to continue marketing in that area with coupons and by giving your current clients some money off their next visit for good referrals.

Start using VPR Cloud to Take You Veterinary Practice to the Next Level

VPR Cloud is the only veterinary reference built by vets, for vets. Having VPR Cloud’s vast knowledge of pharmacology, as well as other tools and resources, makes this decision an absolute no-brainer.

The goal of VPR Cloud 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.

Reach out to us today for a free trial of VPR Cloud. We know you’ll be satisfied and wonder why you didn’t make this decision sooner.

Make a Veterinary Plan: Managing Employees, Patients, and Owners

Veterinary offices can sometimes become a hectic place. Pet emergencies, employee burnout, screaming children in the lobby – there are days when you probably wished you just would have stayed in bed.

That’s not how life works, though. There are bad days, sure, but there are also good days. Making sure a family’s beloved pet is happy and healthy is one of the major reasons you got into this field in the first place. Still, in order to manage the day-to-day operations dealing with patients, their owners, and your employees, you need to have a veterinary plan in place.

The plan, which can be created by you or with your business manager or even as a group, is your go-to guide when it comes to how your practice is run. Think of it as your practice’s mantra – something that, no matter what, you can go back to and allow it to reaffirm the decisions you’ve made. Also allow it to be a guide for those decisions.  Some call it your Practice Vision or your North Star or your Goal.

Your practice’s veterinary plan is a mindset that helps you manage everything from your employees, to the patients, to the owners. It can be as simple as “We strive to prevent more issues than to fix them.” It doesn’t have to be complex; in fact simplest is the best.  You and your team can use it as words to live and practice by.

How the Veterinary Plan Works for Your Employees

Being a veterinarian, or a vet tech, can be a rewarding experience. It can, however, be a very stressful, very depressing job.

In fact, according to the American Veterinary Medicine Association, almost 25 percent of male and 37 percent of female veterinarians have experienced depressive episodes since veterinary school, which is 1 ½ times the norm for adults throughout their lifetime. Sadly, one out of every six veterinarians have considered suicide.

Your practice’s plan can go a long way in helping in these situations. With depression, it’s easy to get lost and become overwhelmed with feelings of worthlessness. When this happens, it’s a tremendous help to be able to think back and remember the plan. The plan provides focus for your practice members and helps guide them back on the right track.

This is not to say that this is the answer for the stress and depression. If you or someone in your office is suffering from severe depression (which does occasionally happen) it’s important to get help.

How the Veterinary Plan Works for Your Patients

The pets you see every day are why you’re there in the first place. You’ve probably been bitten and scratched more times than you care to count, but that doesn’t mean you don’t love your job. You also know these pets are more than just animals to their owners – they really are part of the family.

Having a plan in place for your team gets everyone on the same page for your patients. If your plan is to make sure you promote as many preventative measures as possible so you don’t have to worry about preventable issues, then go with that. Make sure your staff knows to drive those points home to the owners.

Emergencies will continue to happen and, sadly, there’s not a lot you can do about it. But if you stick with the plan, you can deal with the emergencies as they pop up and prepare yourself – and your staff – for anything that comes at you.

How the Veterinary Plan Works for Pet Owners

Pet owners love their pets, that’s one of the biggest reasons they’ve brought them to you. Some will do whatever it takes to make sure their pet remains happy and healthy, and there are some that break down when you tell them there’s nothing more you can do. You see the good, the bad, and everything in between. For owners, all they see is right now.

With your plan in place, you have a greater understanding of not only how to go about treating the pet, but also how to work with the owner. If your plan, again, is focused on preventative measures as opposed to treating what could have been prevented, educating the owner is just as important as treating the pet.

Some owners will work with you and follow your directions to the letter. Some, however, might not follow your guidelines exactly. Whatever you plan is, make sure pet owners are aware of it and how it affects their pets.

Sometimes You Have to Blow Up the Plan

It’s important to have the plan, but it’s also good to know that the plan needs to be a living, adaptable thing. If something’s not working, you fix it, right? In this case, if the plan needs to be changed, it’s best to adapt.

This could be anything from slight tweaks here and there to a complete overhaul. As time goes on, it’s good to really think about your plan and ask yourself if it still represents your overall goals. Talk with your employees and see how they feel about the plan. It’s always good to keep everyone in the loop.

If you do need to create a new plan, go back to the drawing board and figure out the best course of action for you, your team, and your practice.

Have a Little Help with Your Veterinary Plan

To make sure you plan goes as smoothly as possible, it’s always good to have a little help from time to time. That’s why it’s a great idea to use VPR Cloud at your practice.

VPR Cloud is the only vet reference built by vets, for vets. The VPR Cloud program puts a constantly updated drug database within your fingertips with instant results. VPR Cloud also offers a dosage calculator, off-label consent forms, and so much more.

To see how VPR Cloud can help your practice and help you with your plan, reach out for a free trial.

Get Control Over Your Stress: 3 Ways Veterinarians Can Manage Stress

Every year, thousands of children all over the world say they want to be veterinarians because they love animals. Some of those children grow up to become veterinarians because, indeed, they love animals.

Once you become a veterinarian, however, you see the good and the bad when it comes to taking care of pets – too much of it bad. Tough decisions have to be made. Can a pet survive a procedure, or is it better to put them down so they’re no longer suffering? Owners have to make the ultimate call if they decide the latter, but you’re the one who has to come up with the decision. Your actions determine if little Bruno, the kitten, goes home to a happy family, or doesn’t go home at all.

That is a LOT of heaviness. It’s hard enough to make a life or death decision for one beloved pet, much less many in a short period of time. It’s not an easy profession. In fact, 24.5 percent of male and 36.7 percent of female veterinarians have experienced depressive episodes since veterinary school, which is about 1 ½ times the norm for adults throughout their lifetime, according to the American Veterinary Medicine Association.

So yes, you love animals and that’s why you became a veterinarian. However, if you aren’t able to manage your stress, you very well could become another statistic. For the sake of all the little Brunos and the families that look for your help with their pets, you have to manage your stress level.

Here are a few ways you can manage stress, which will help keep you levelheaded, focused, and away from depression.

1. Trying the Four A’s for Veterinarian Stress Management

According to the Mayo Clinic, when your stress level exceeds your ability to cope, you need to restore the balance by reducing the stressors or increasing your ability to cope, or both. That’s why they recommend using the “Four A’s” to help manage stress: avoid, alter, accept, or adapt.

  • Avoid: This one is a little harder for veterinarians because there’s not a lot you can avoid. However, you can take control of your surroundings. Schedule breaks throughout the day to just sit, reflect on your day so far, and cope with what has happened throughout your schedule. Even if it’s just for five minutes.
  • Alter: Trying to change the situation for the better is a great coping mechanism. While it might be difficult to communicate your feelings openly, it’s good to know your limitations and plan accordingly.
  • Accept: This is probably the one “A” that is the hardest to achieve. You have to be able to accept what is happening, what has happened, and what will happen in the future. This is a time for you to accept the situation and learn from it.
  • Adapt: Telling yourself that stress is just a part of the job for a veterinarian and there’s no way around it won’t help you. The three big keys here to take away from this “A”: learning to stop gloomy thoughts in their tracks; saying to yourself, “I’ve got this, I can handle this,” as a personal mantra every day’ and looking at the big picture by asking yourself, “will this still bother me a month from now or a year from now?” Realizing these things helps make stress seem less overwhelming.

2. Use a Stress Management Checklist

We’re always going to have lists. They guide us when we need to buy groceries, pick out furniture, or even deciding the top-10 best musicians of all time. The point is, they’re handy. When it comes to stress management, they’re very handy.

The AMVA has a checklist for stress management, which helps you better understand what you need to do to be less stressed. The checklist includes the following:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Get sufficient sleep
  • Plan for and follow a balanced diet
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Balance work and play
  • Delegate tasks appropriately – don’t try to do everything yourself
  • Spend quality time with family and friends
  • Resolve conflict in a timely and respectful manner
  • Take psychological health seriously. Seek professional assistance if bothered by feelings of depression or other signs of mental illness.
  • And, last but not least, never underestimate the health benefits of playing with your pet.

As AMVA points out, there is no single strategy that will reduce stress for everyone. You need to figure out your own technique and focus on doing that.

3. Know When to Get Help

If you don’t manage your stress in a timely manner, it will fester and become full-on depression very quickly. From veterinarians fresh out of school to seasoned veterinarians, there might be an inherent desire to show people you can handle any situation. Because of this, you’re bottling up all of the stress and not really coping with the issue. The stress management goes away and the next thing you know you’re crying at home and you don’t really even know why.

When that happens, it’s important to know that there’s absolutely no shame in asking for help. Talking to your friends and family about what you’re going through is a good start. However, if you think you’re beyond that, it’s time to look for professional help. Seeking help from a therapist doesn’t mean you’re weak, it just means that, like all of us, you need a little help. Just being able to get things off your chest – even if it’s to a complete stranger – will help you tremendously and make you feel so much better.

VPR Cloud Can Help Make Some Things Easier

At VPR Cloud, we understand that you have a lot going on as a veterinarian. That’s the reason we created VPR Cloud in the first place – a tool created by veterinarians, for veterinarians.

With VPR Cloud, you no longer have to worry about danger drug interactions or dosages based on weight. VPR Cloud allows you to put in all the information, and the program does the work for you. It really is that easy, and one less thing you have to stress about during the day.

Reach out to us to see how VPR Cloud can help make your day a little less stressful.

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 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 immediately.

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. One of 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.’

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, you might be dealing with pet drug interactions.

Communication between yourself and your veterinarian is a crucial element when it comes to avoiding pet 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 Pet 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.

Veterinarian client education is a lot easier

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.