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Informed clients benefit practices and pets
  1. Helen Johnson

Abstract

White Cross Vets in Derby recently opened its doors and invited local pet owners to come and learn about what to do – and what not to do – in a pet emergency. Clinic director, Helen Johnson, says that informing clients can help bond them to a practice

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WE like to get to know our clients and their pets and we regularly hold educational events for them. In February, we hosted a practice open evening on a new topic for us – pet first aid. Pets are often at the heart of the family and we understand how distressing it can be to see them in pain.

In an emergency situation, it's important that owners feel confident about what they should do – it might even save their pet's life – so we invited clients to come along to learn various aspects of first aid in a relaxed, informative environment. Our aim was that by the end of the evening, everyone would feel equipped to deal with a range of unexpected or emergency situations. Invitations were sent out via Facebook and the local newspaper.

Picking up the story, the Derby Telegraph subsequently visited the practice and created a Facebook Live event to promote the evening. Facebook Live allows video to be streamed live and viewers to interact with those providing it. In our case, our senior vet Laura Pugh demonstrated some basic first aid techniques on Border terrier puppy Rizzle. The response was fantastic and the open evening was quickly oversubscribed.

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‘The ease of posting and creating events on social media makes it simple to reach clients and, even if they do not attend the event, the positive exposure is beneficial for the practice ’

The evening began with introductions to our practice team, along with a practice tour. Laura presented her talk with accompanying slides and handouts for the owners to take home. She covered a number of ;topics, including breathing difficulties, urinary problems and hyperthermia. She also offered guidance for owners on how to tell if their pet is unwell and top tips on what to do (or what not to do) in an emergency.

The evening was a huge success (despite a member of staff turning up with their own pet in a real emergency) and our clients left at the end well informed and bonded to the practice.

Laura says: ‘The clients were really engaged. From my previous experience of running similar events the talks benefit the pet, the owner and the vet. I have previously experienced a situation where an owner potentially saved their dog's life having picked up the signs of pyometra early, based on what they had learnt. Clients that come to these evenings are interested in learning more about their pets’ health and, in doing so, form a stronger connection with the practice.'

Due to the success of our pet first aid course, we have run another information evening on keeping backyard chickens; we have more talks planned on other topics, too.

The ease of posting and creating events on social media makes it simple to reach clients and, even if they do not attend the event, the positive exposure is beneficial for the practice.

By empowering team members to take a lead role in helping client understand preventative health care you can strengthen the bond between your practice and the local community it serves while having fun at the same time – all of which helps to make our jobs that little bit more rewarding.

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