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Talking Your Clients Off the Ledge During a Veterinary Emergency

Posted by Cathy Barnette on March 22, 2021 at 7:12 PM

Imagine the following scenario: 

You have just started your first job as a vet, working at a two-doctor general practice in a suburban area. You’ve been on the job for about three weeks and everything is going smoothly… so smoothly, in fact, that your boss leaves you to “hold down the fort” for a few hours while he goes to a doctor’s appointment. You feel honored, but slightly terrified. 

Sure enough, not even half an hour after the owner walks out the door, a new client comes rushing in with a dog that has been hit by a car. You perform a brief triage exam and the dog looks relatively stable, but you know that he needs an IV catheter, fluids, pain meds, radiographs, and monitoring for the next several hours. As soon as you begin talking to the client about your exam findings and plan, she starts to cry. “I only have $75. I won’t have any more money until I get paid on the first of the month. Can you still save him?!”

Uh oh. You were prepared for a medical conversation, but vet school didn’t prepare you for this! 

How will you treat this dog for only $75? How can you help this client come up with more money? Your first instinct is to pass this conversation off to another team member, but you’re standing in front of the client and she’s pleading for answers… walking away and handing her off to someone else doesn’t seem like a good choice. 

What next?

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Topics: Emergencies

Wellness Plan FAQs: Know the Basics

Posted by Cathy Barnette on March 16, 2021 at 12:14 PM

If your post-graduation career plans involve working in small animal general practice, there’s a decent chance that you may someday find yourself dealing with wellness plans. In fact, a 2015 survey found that 20% of veterinary practices surveyed offered wellness plans, although the exact number seems to fluctuate from year to year.1

When you think of wellness plans, you might immediately think of Banfield. While they are a major provider and proponent of wellness plans, they certainly aren’t the only ones! Other corporations, including VCA and National Veterinary Associates (NVA) also offer wellness plans in many of their hospitals. Privately-owned practices are also increasingly offering wellness plans as a service to their clients, to increase compliance and provide clients with financial options.

Having a basic understanding of wellness plans can be a big help you as you begin your career. If you’re considering working a practice that offers wellness plans, understanding these plans can help you determine whether you would be comfortable recommending them to your clients. If you do end up working in such a practice, an understanding of your practice’s specific wellness plan offerings is essential in order to educate your clients about this option.

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Topics: Vet Student, Wellness Plans, veterinary student

5 Tips for Talking to New Puppy Owners About Pet Insurance

Posted by Cathy Barnette on March 9, 2021 at 2:15 PM

As much as we hate to admit it, we all know that many pets die each year because their owners are unable to afford veterinary care. Like it or not, high-quality care is expensive.

This leads some clients to forego treatment or even to euthanize their pets for financial reasons. 

If we, as veterinarians, can convince pet owners to enroll in pet insurance from an early age, we are far less likely to find ourselves performing economic euthanasias on these pets.

Therefore, you would think we should all be doing our best to talk about pet insurance at every visit, right? In reality, though, many of us avoid conversations about pet insurance. Our days are often hectic, we have limited time with each client, and pet insurance is a complex topic that is difficult to distill down into a brief client chat. 

How can we make pet insurance conversations more efficient and productive?

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Topics: New Puppy Owners, Puppies, Pet Insurance

Essential Equipment for High-Quality Veterinary Dentistry

Posted by Cathy Barnette on February 22, 2021 at 9:00 AM

If you decide to work in small animal practice after vet school, you will likely see a wide variety of dentistry setups during your interviews. Some practices may have state-of-the-art dental suites, while others may expect you to section multi-rooted teeth with a Dremel® on the treatment table. (I wish I was kidding!)

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Topics: Equipment


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