Three tips to manage equine client misinformation
> Start appointments by addressing the client's concerns, worries, and opinions. Reassure the client, says Dr. Guenther. "If the owner thinks the horse is lame in the left-front but your first instinct is to look at the gait from the right-front, check out the left-front first," he says. "This reassures the client that you heard him, that you respect his intelligence and his opinion."
> Ask clients to keep you in the loop. Dr. Lacher encourages clients to call or e-mail her with questions. She shares with them online sources she trusts, like The Horse and the AAEP Web site, and asks them to send her links to online sources they're not sure about.
> Be nice. If the remedy the client found on the Internet doesn't hurt, it can't be too bad. Some of Dr. Lacher's clients have gotten some New Age-y suggestions, like chanting and magic crystals. While Dr. Lacher doesn't prescribe such methods, she says she's got a respectful answer for innocuous treatments as long as they don't interfere with her medical recommendations: "Well, I haven't tried it personally, but it certainly can't hurt."
For more on educating equine clients, check out the August issue of Veterinary Economics, coming soon!