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.
PROMOTE RENAL DIAGNOSTICS
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.
FEED LOW-PROTEIN DIETS
"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. )
HYDRATE AT HOME
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.