How to Attract and Keep Long-Term Vet Clients

The best relationships are the ones that last a long time.

That’s true in a personal context, and it’s certainly true for veterinarians in a professional context, too. Relationships that stand the test of time are built on mutual trust and appreciation.

And, of course, retaining clients over the long-term benefits your practice.

The price of one pet checkup pales in comparison to the lifetime value you gain from being a client’s go-to veterinarian.

So, the value of long-term client relationships is obvious. Less obvious, though, is how to facilitate and maintain those relationships.

Don’t worry, though – the technique to building a long-term client base isn’t some complex secret. Like most relationships, the best veterinarian-client relationships are built on the simple activities that facilitate trust.

Let’s take a look at a few ways to do just that.

Provide High Quality Veterinary Care

This may seem overly simplistic or even redundant, but the foundation of a client’s relationship with you is based on how they answer the question: “Is my vet providing my pet with good care?”

Fairly or not, service providers are easy targets for the ire of dissatisfied clients. Like dentists or car mechanics that draw dissatisfaction over the perception of poor service, veterinarians face this as a reality, too. If your clients don’t think you’re doing a good job, there is no chance for a long-term relationship.

That’s not always fair, and it’s unrealistic to expect to fully please everybody all the time. But if you truly focus on providing your clients and their pets with high quality care, the answer to that question above will most often be “yes.”

Focus On the Pet’s Comfort Level to Surpass Expectations

Besides the fundamental level of care you provide, though, a client’s perception of your relationship with their pet will go a long way toward determining whether they’ll grant you their trust and continue to choose your practice. One of the best ways to influence that perception is to pay notable attention to the comfort level of your patients.

Your clients may expect that their pets will be stressed during an appointment. The more you can alleviate or dispel that idea, the more likely you’ll earn trust.

You’ve probably heard pet owners say things like, “My dog tries to bite every vet who gives her a shot.” If you can give the dog a treat and administer the shot quickly, minimizing the patient’s stress, you’ll gain an immense amount of trust with the owner by surpassing their expectations.

Show You Care to Build Long-Term Vet Client Trust

Your relationship with your clients’ pets is one of the ways that you can show that you care. And, as is true in any relationship, showing that you care goes a long way toward building something that lasts.

We’ve written about it before: when you provide veterinary services routinely, day after day, there’s an inherent danger that you’ll fall into autopilot mode. It’s understandable, and yet the appearance of “autopilot mode” is the last thing you want to portray when you’re seeking to build long-term relationships.

Pet owners want to know that you care. When they bring in their cat, they want you to treat it like it’s the only cat there is, not the eighth you’ve seen that morning.

Take the time to demonstrate that you understand how valuable each pet is. Greet them by name; take the time to get to know them a bit, if possible. Recognize elements of their personalities. Simple actions like this show that you don’t view each patient as a number in your day; you recognize, with their owner, their individual value. You care.

When clients recognize that fact, building trust comes naturally. From that, long-term relationships start to grow.

VPR Cloud Makes It Easier to Build a Long-Term Vet Client Base

At the end of the day, there is no complex secret to building long-term veterinary-client relationships. It’s simple, really: long-term relationships are built on trust. And trust is earned over each client interaction, each appointment, and each demonstration of competence and care.

At VPR Cloud, we understand that. It’s why we’ve created VPR Cloud, the only vet reference built by vets, for vets: so that you can focus on the real work of relationship building.

Having a dependable, easy-to-use reference tool at your fingertips is a valuable asset for any veterinarian. It makes providing high quality care easier. You can store information about every animal they treat, so you’ll easily be able to track current and previous prescriptions.

Additionally, VPR Cloud will help you to save time on administrative elements. Instead of spending time manually referencing a drug index, you’ll have more time to commit to building trust. And, VPR Cloud allows you to easily provide your client with an information sheet, featuring the most current accurate information about the medications you may be prescribing. It’s an easy way to show them how much you care.

VPR Cloud means more time for building long-term relationships with clients. After all, those relationships are the best kind.

The Importance of A Good Veterinarian

It’s not easy working your way through years of college and training in order to become a veterinarian. It’s also not easy putting in the time and effort once you become a veterinarian. Despite the difficulty, people do it every day across the country. However, this doesn’t necessarily make every veterinarian a good veterinarian.

This is not to say they are bad veterinarians. Quite the opposite. While many practices are filled with good veterinarians, there might be a few who are skilled, extremely talented, and very competent at what they do, but lack some of the traits that would move them into the “great” category.

The differences between a veterinarian and a great veterinarian are small, yet salient.

Traits of a Good Veterinarian

It might surprise many that one of the biggest traits for a good veterinarian to have is that they care about people. Most think that it’s all about the animals, and while that’s very important, caring about the people is primary.

A good veterinarian is able to connect with people and fully understand their concerns. They’re also humble enough to come up with a list of treatment options for the owners – not just one option the veterinarian feels is best for the animal. A good veterinarian also doesn’t judge an owner for choosing an option they might not think is the best solution.

It’s also key for a good veterinarian to understand their limitations. If there is a difficult case, good veterinarians will always look to consult with someone who might have a better understanding of what’s going on. At the very least, they should be honest with the owners about what they can or can’t do for their animal.

Medical and veterinary skills are important traits for any good veterinarian to have, but if you are medically competent and you don’t connect with the owners, they’re not going to care and, chances are, won’t do what you say. As the saying goes, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Hiring a Good Veterinarian

There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to hiring a good veterinarian. As in any business, what separates candidates varies from practice to practice.

The hiring veterinarian has an overall vision for their practice. They’re going to look for someone who is a good fit and has a similar practice philosophy. The philosophy might be kindness, or maybe cutting-edge medicine. Those are both possible, but they’re different focuses.

If the practice has a clear philosophy, the hiring veterinarian is going to bring in someone who fits well. You can teach skills, but it’s a lot harder to teach mindsets, so the veterinarian will look to add parts to a team of people with similar goals and work philosophies.

That’s not to say everyone on the team has to think exactly the same way. A good veterinarian should complement the practice, but have their own thoughts and ideas. Hiring someone who is compliant could bring about the downfall of a practice. A good veterinarian will help push the members of the team to get better, and vice versa.

How a Good Veterinarian Copes with Stress, Depression

Working in the veterinary field is very rewarding, but it’s also stressful. That stress and anxiety, over time, leads to burnout and depression. Unfortunately, it’s a fairly common occurrence.

In order to overcome these issues, a good veterinarian needs to set up boundaries, where they can say yes or no to things that are important to them. For example, they might make a schedule and stick with it, so when they’re on, they’re on, and when they’re off, they’re off.

Of course, work life and personal life do tend to bleed into each other from time to time. Issues from home might follow veterinarians to work, while work issues might follow them home. It’s vital for all veterinarians to take time to restore and rejuvenate. Daily, weekly, monthly … even if you have to schedule 5- to 10-minute breaks throughout the day, it’s necessary.

All veterinarians need to take care of themselves – physically and mentally. This means learning to delegate responsibilities, taking joy in your family life, and spending as much time as you need to recharge your batteries.

VPR Cloud is Made for Good Veterinarians

Taking the time to go over the information with owners and answering their questions is a great quality for a good veterinarian. Having a great reference tool at your fingertips is a valuable asset for any good veterinarian.

That’s why we created VPR Cloud, the only vet reference built by vets, for vets. VPR Cloud offers industry-leading pharmacology, with the tools and resources that make it the best choice for all veterinarians.

With built-in client information sheets, veterinarians can store information about each animal they treat, so they’ll easily be able to keep track of any drugs that have been prescribed. VPR Cloud helps save veterinarians time and energy that could be used doing any number of things – from talking to owners to taking time for themselves.

For more information on how VPR Cloud can help you become an even better veterinarian, contact us today.

Things to Keep in Mind When Looking for a Vet Tech

In the world of veterinary medicine, a veterinary technician is the right hand of the veterinarian. Vet techs do everything from drawing blood to assisting in surgery and much more depending on the practice. So, when it’s time to hire a new vet tech, it’s vital to bring on someone who’s a good fit.

Some veterinary practices leave it up to the office managers to hire a vet tech, while other veterinarians prefer to do it themselves. As office managers start to take over more and more of this type of responsibility, it’s still important that veterinarians have a say in the process. After all, the veterinarians will be working side by side with whomever is hired.

With that in mind, if you are looking to hire a new vet tech, there are a few things you should think about beforehand.

Separate the Pack

When you first announce you’re looking to hire a new vet tech, you might receive a few resumes, or you could wind up with an inbox full of emails from prospects. There are many traits you’ll want to look for in a new hire – someone who presents themselves well, for example. It’s also crucial to find someone who will be a perfect reflection of your practice.

A person’s skill level is important, but when you think about hiring someone who reflects your practice, think about how well they will fit in personally as well as professionally. Is the potential hire someone you see being that reflection? It’s key to know this sooner rather than later because this person will essentially be one of the many faces of your practice.

For example, there will be times when they will be responsible for speaking your words to your clients. You’ll need to ask yourself if you are comfortable with this person representing your firm. If you have any hesitations, it might mean it’s best to look for someone else.

Be Mindful of Red Flags

Just like any business, when you start looking at potential new hires, you want to be wary of any red flags.

Has this person worked at five different places within the past four months? Do they have questionable recommendations? What about job experience? These are just some of the things you should consider as possible red flags.

This doesn’t mean, however, that a person with a red flag isn’t a good fit for your practice. Maybe there are good reasons why they had several jobs in a short period of time? Or maybe they don’t have much in the way of experience because they recently graduated from school?

In any case, red flags should at least prompt you to ask more questions about these issues.

Finding the Right Type of Person

Veterinary medicine is not an easy field of practice. We’ve spoken before about stress and the rates of depression among veterinarians and vet techs alike. While it can be an extremely rewarding job, it can take a toll on you, especially if you aren’t prepared for it.

When you’re looking to hire a new vet tech, you want to make sure you look for someone who is not only resilient, but compassionate – although realistic. You want to find a person who has the ability to manage the stressful work life that is asked of them, and yet still be able to go home at the end of the day without taking it with them.

During the interview, ask them how they would handle certain situations, what they do for a hobby, and how they usually unwind at the end of a stressful day. Since it is an interview, they might be tempted to give you answers they think you’ll want to hear. Encourage them to be honest with these answers.

It’s not easy separating work life from non-work life, as there are a lot of vet techs, as well as veterinarians, who have trouble doing this every day. When you can find those who manage stress well and want to be your vet tech, it might just be in your best interest to seriously consider hiring them.

Watch How Well They Work

Once you’ve had enough initial interviews – either by phone or in person – you should be able to narrow your search down to just a few applicants. At this point, you can observe how they do in a working interview.

With the working interview, you can have the potential new hire shadow you for the day or however long you’d like, and see how well they work and fit in your practice. There’s a good chance you’ll know pretty soon if they will be compatible with the way you practice or the way you interact with patients. Are they squeamish? Are they quick to offer a helping hand or ask if there’s something they can do? Or do they stand in a corner while watching you and twiddling their thumbs?

Of course, each veterinarian is different. While some might look for interaction from a potential hire during a working interview, others might be put off if the prospective vet tech offers a differing opinion on how something could be done. It all comes down to comfort level and what you think will be the best when it comes to the new hire.

Find Someone Who is Tech Savvy

There are a lot of things around your practice that technology has made better and easier to use. When you hire a new vet tech, you want to make sure they know about the latest technology, and exactly how to use it. They don’t need to be technology aficionados, but it helps if they’re somewhat proficient.

One of the best pieces of technology out there to help make the jobs of veterinarians and vet techs easier is VPR Cloud. With VPR Cloud, you and your vet tech have industry-leading pharmacology right at the touch of your finger – on your computer, your tablet, even your phone.

VPR Cloud not only has a comprehensive and up-to-date interactive drug search, but client information sheets with animal/patient specific prescription information, a dosage calculator, off label consent forms, and much more.

Make your job – and the job of your new vet tech – so much easier by investing in sound technology for your practice. To see the VPR difference, start your free trial today.

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.

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!