Counsel clients on veterinary kidney care

Counsel clients on veterinary kidney care

Filter out missed opportunities in renal care by testing early and educating clients.
Jul 01, 2009
By staff

Renal disease in pets can lead to tough decisions for clients. Sure, some pet owners who are referred to Dr. Cathy Langston's nephrology, urology, and hemodialysis unit at Animal Medical Center in New York will opt for expensive measures in the late stages. But many can't—or won't. So why let it get to this point? There are patients to be helped and revenue to be earned by improving diagnostic protocols and treating early problems with diet changes and medications. These are all protocols that can help your bottom line.


Renal disease can be treated only if it's detected. Consider annual urinalyses for at-risk pets—certain breeds and older felines. "Even for healthy older animals, performing urinalyses, blood work, and blood pressure checks on an annual basis makes a lot of sense," Dr. Langston, DACVIM, says. "Many pets don't get their first urinalysis until they're in renal failure." While it's often easier to draw blood than urine, urinalysis is crucial.


"Special low-protein diets are still the most effective thing we have to help cats and dogs with renal problems," says Dr. Langston. Her patients have tried all the major brands and her biggest concern is always palatability. Does a pet like the taste of one better than another? Then that's the brand it should get. Convenience is also important for clients. Dr. Langston typically offers diets that are immediately available at her hospital or at others nearby. (If you don't sell pet food, consider it. For more tips, click here to read “Carry food for more clients. )


Sharp needles. Fluid bubbles. Animal restraint problems. Clients have many reasons why administering subcutaneous fluids scares them. Don't let fear win. Because the benefits of proper hydration are huge both for pets' health and quality of life, make sure you educate clients about how to administer fluids at home or offer the service at your clinic for squeamish pet owners. The pets will benefit from better care, clients will become more attuned to their pets' health, and your practice can benefit from the sales of fluid bags, needles, and continued wellness and follow-up visits.

Whether it's urinalysis, low-protein diets, feeding tubes, or organ transplants, care for pets with renal disease starts with educating concerned pet owners about the disease, treatments, and the quality of life a stable cat or dog with renal disease can expect. Your practice will benefit from longer-living patients.

Hot topics on dvm360

Veterinarians: Your clients are going to Google with these cat questions

Search engine shares the top 10 questions people asked about dogs and cats in 2014.

Vetcetera: The complex topic of canine fear-related aggression

A guided tour of resources for addressing this popular and complicated subject, featuring advice from Dr. John Ciribassi.

Reality TV and the veterinarian: Discussing mainstream dog training advice with clients

Your clients may be getting behavior advice from cable TV. Get your opinion in the mix.

Blog: Election results pose obstacles for veterinary prescription law

Flip in U.S. Senate's majority may slow progress of Fairness to Pet Owners Act.

7 steps to a better relationship between veterinarians and rescue groups

A DVM in the city shares his advice to veterinary practices for working with rescues.