Q&A: How do I explain EHV-1 to clients?
For a veterinarian, understanding equine illness is the easy part. Communicating the details to clients is where your job can get tricky. Handling questions about such problems as equine herpesvirus (EHV-1), equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM), and West Nile virus is all about being proactive, says Dr. James Guenther, MBA, CVPM. In this Q&A with Dr. Guenther, co-owner of Strategic Veterinary Consulting in Asheville, N.C., we explore the best way to communicate with clients about EHV-1 and other equine viruses.
How concerned about EHV-1 are most clients?
In the case of EHV-1, Dr. Guenther says that the virus has been around long enough that most owners are familiar with the disease’s effects and are most concerned about prevention. Unfortunately, unlike West Nile and other conditions for which veterinarians can recommend vaccines, there is no vaccine for EHV-1 yet.
If there is an outbreak, how should I respond to clients’ worried calls?
What’s the best way to explain EHV-1 to clients?
Can I combat the rumor mill?
“Do your research, then show clients you’ve done so,” he says. “Be the first to send out a series of articles that you respect on the topic, offer links to appropriate informative websites, and be available to answer questions by phone or e-mail. Make yourself the authority, and your clients will be more likely to come to you—instead of to other misinformed horse owners.”
Click here for a list of EHV-1 resources, including a brochure you can download to share with clients. And see the related links below for more on client communication.