A mentor once told me, “Your clients will only comprehend 25% of what you tell them, so make your words count.”
They also told me, “You don’t have to be the smartest veterinarian, you just need to know where and how to efficiently find information.”
What that mentor failed to mention is that you only have 5, maybe 10 minutes max, to convey vital, and sometimes devastating, information to a pet parent.
For this reason, utilizing well-written and vetted (pun intended) client handouts will elevate the care a pet may receive — because owner understanding and compliance is an integral part of pet health.
Oh, and did I mention, this could potentially free up some of your time to do those callbacks, drop-off/boarding appointments, or heaven forbid eat something and take a bathroom break!
Handouts to augment client visits
Don’t get me wrong, these handouts/websites are not meant to replace your facetime with clients, as that would come across as sterile and uncouth, but they will echo and expand upon topics you briefly mentioned during the visit.
I, as well as many of my IndeVet colleagues, commonly include some of the following links in wellness report cards I send home when working general practice or discharge instructions when working an emergency shift.
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General pet care resources
- AVMA: Baseline information about responsible pet ownership, preventive care, and pet safety.
- Veterinary Partner: Over 1300+ articles for pet parents written by credentialed members of the veterinary profession. Hands down this is an IndeVet favorite!
- VCA Animal Hospitals has a good series of “Puppy 101” and “Kitten 101” articles. They also have a lot of disease specific articles as well.
- Your Vet Wants You to Know
- Enticing exotics: Let’s not forget about our little friends with feathers and scales!
- AAHA: We all know this has useful information for veterinary professionals, but I will commonly guide owners to the “Top 10 things you need to know” and “Lifestyle Based Vaccine Calculator” when discussing non-core vaccines.
- The IndeVets Happy Hour podcast: For owners who are interested in a deep dive, check out the IndeVets Happy Hour podcast Episodes 17-22 for all things canine and feline vaccine related.
- Food labels: dvm360’s guide for owners that actually want to read the bag.
- BalanceIT’s guide for owners who want to make their own pet food.
- Obesity: Pet Obesity Prevention’s tips and tricks for pet owners to kickstart the weight loss journey.
- WSAVA Nutrition Guidelines Cats: The savvy cat owner’s guide to feline nutrition.
- WSAVA Nutrition Guidelines Dogs: The savvy dog owner’s guide to canine nutrition.
All things cat (because they’re their own entity)
- Cat Friendly: Powered by the AAFP, this website has articles regarding life stages, preventive care, and disease/condition specifics geared toward cat owners.
- Cornell Feline Health Center: Detailed, disease specific articles focused on our feline friends.
- Muzzle training with good videos and other resources.
- Dog training by Kikopup (YouTube channel): Basic puppy training, tricks, as well as some information about reactivity and barking.
Disease/condition specific resources
- Cancer: Vet Cancer Society has handouts about lymphoma and mast cell tumors, as well as chemotherapy FAQ. Owners can also search for a board-certified veterinary oncologist in their area.
- Cardiogology: Cardiac disease resources, as well as drug handouts for clients from the CVCA.
- Dental disease and oral health:
- Diabetes: Generic information from PetDiabetes.com, as well as videos from the AAHA about how to administer insulin and measure blood glucose at home.
- DNA testing: Breed specific info from UC Davis.
- End of life: The Ohio State University VMC‘s Honoring the Bond and the University of Tennessee‘s HHHHHM provide quantitative scales that pet owners can use to remove some of the emotional aspects when considering end of life.
- Spay/Neuter: The AAHA’s flowchart to help with the debate regarding the “best time.”
- Surgery: Great resources from the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Going beyond surgery, these articles outline signs/symptoms, treatment, and aftercare/outcome of specific disease.
- Toxicity: The ASPCA has a comprehensive list of poisonous plants, people food, and household products. Also a handy phone number for pet parents to have.
Bonus tip: if you use Google Chrome you can translate any website into different languages! (To do so: right click and choose “translate to English.” Then click the 3 vertical dots and select “Choose another launguage.”)
I hope these resources are helpful to you in your daily work! Have an additional resource you’d like to see added? Drop us a note and let us know.
Michelle Clancy, DVM, MPA is an Associate IndeVet practicing in Virginia.