You can create a small, successful exotic ward with no more space than an unused storage room and boost the service you offer owners of exotic pets, says Dr. Jennifer Graham, Dipl. ABVP. "Clients are beginning to ask, 'Are the exotics kept separate from the other pets?' and 'What special treatment can you provide?' " Dr. Graham says. "Clients know these issues are important and will evaluate the practice on team members’ responses."
Senior wellness screenings reveal abnormalities in 23 percent of
dogs and 17 percent of cats with normal physical exam results,
according to a 1999 study conducted by Antech Diagnostics. Dr.
Daniel Brod, co-owner of Deer Creek Animal Hospital in Littleton,
Colo., uses this statistic during wellness exams to communicate the
importance of annual senior testing to clients. He says that in
about one of four senior dogs he tests, he identifies early disease
processes, such as renal, liver, or thyroid disease—that's
about 15 percent higher than in younger dogs at his practice. And
he says that the study results mirror his findings in senior feline
patients as well.
Teaching proper dental care is part of the program at Pet Crossing Animal Hospital and Dental Clinic in Bloomington, Minn. And they aren't just teaching their staff members. Co-owners Drs. Katherine Knutson and Stephen Barghusen are using a dental lecture series to help practices statewide improve their standard of dental care and improve client compliance.
Dogs can’t wait to get through the front door of Chanhassen Veterinary Clinic in Chanhassen, Minn. For 12 years, the clinic has been throwing free puppy parties in its reception area. And month after month the team finds that when you correct unwanted puppy behavior with a reward-based approach, you build long-lasting family bonds, and in the process, pets’ bonds with the practice and with other pets. “Puppies literally come running into the clinic looking for their party pals,” says Dr. Deanne McCabe, one of three practice owners.
Hiring a practice manager can boost productivity, staff satisfaction, and practice revenue. Just ask Dr. Gail Mason, MA, Dipl. ACVIM, co-owner of Bath-Brunswick Veterinary Associates in Brunswick, Maine. She and co-owner Dr. Mark Mason, MS, Dipl. ABVP, have saved 15 hours a week combined since they hired practice manager Perian Phillips seven years ago. Between the two specialists, the practice can schedule four additional 45-minute referral appointments per day.
“Kidney disease is the No. 1 disease I diagnose,” says Dr. Arnold Plotnick, DABVP, DACVIM, owner of Manhattan Cat Specialists in New York. “And cats with kidney disease that eat appropriate diets live longer.” The key, he says, is for clients to try each of the available diets until he or she finds one the pet will accept.
Dr. Robert Esplin's client knew the value of the canine blood bank when he rushed his dog to Sylvania Veterinary Hospital in Sylvania, Ohio. The twist: the dog being rushed to the hospital was called in to donate blood to another dog in need.
“Phone scripts help receptionists educate new clients before they enter the practice,” says Tracy Dowdy, CVPM, a consultant in Dallas. In her consulting work, Dowdy introduces phone scripts that emphasize the value of basic services into practices across the country.
Few pets miss their regular test or get behind on their medications at Lost Mountain Animal Hospital in Marietta, Ga. That's because office manager Debi Cook sends out reminders to clients to make appointments for procedures, tests, and medications, such as T4 levels and phenobarbital screens every six months, heartworm medication every year, and regular dentals.
Examination is 50 percent of the work of our profession. Examination is the key to our success or failure in the pursuit of our profession. Examination is the most botched up service performed by fully 50 percent of our colleagues in both its qualitative and quantitative aspects.
Five years ago Pet Care Hospital in Plano, Texas, opened a doggie daycare service and the practice, clients, and dogs continue to reap the rewards. "Clients take home tired dogs, worn out from a day full of play and exercise. And over the long-term, the daycare builds the dogs' self-confidence so they aren't fearful," says Jill Vincent, a certified trainer who runs the daycare as well as the practice's dog-training classes.