Communicating with clients—they really don't know squat about taking care of their pets (Proceedings)
Veterinarians and their team members have been working for years to educate pet owners about the care their pets need in order for them to stay happy and healthy. Undoubtedly we've made some progress, but results from the recently released Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study indicate we have a long way to go; many pet owners simply don't understand the need for what is generally accepted as routine care.
More than a few reports have shown that the economic recession of 2007 to 2009 had a negative impact on the number of patients seen at many companion animal veterinary practices in the United States. There is also substantial evidence that the erosion in the number of patient visits began well before the start of the recession. The prospect that the number of dog and cat visits to veterinary clinics was decreasing at a time when the pet population was increasing raised concerns about whether pets were getting adequate veterinary care, as well as what impact this decrease might have on the economic state of the veterinary profession, and whether the trend toward fewer veterinary visits was reversible.
The Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study was designed to confirm the decrease in the number of patient visits that has occurred over time, to identify factors responsible for this decrease, and to identify specific actions that companion animal practitioners could take to encourage more frequent veterinary visits for dogs and cats in order to reverse the trend. The study was a collaborative effort between Bayer Animal Health, the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues and Brakke Consulting, Inc. and included in-depth interviews with companion animal practice owners, qualitative interviews with pet owners and a robust, statistically valid national online quantitative survey of pet owners.