FIRSTLINE, Aug 1, 2007 - Firstline
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FIRSTLINE, Aug 1, 2007
Cover story
Client education: Who's responsible?
By Kelly Stazyk
Are you informal about informing, easygoing about educating, casual about coaching clients about their animals? See how more structure benefits your practice, pet owners, and patients.
Do clients know the risks of parasites?
By Kelly Stazyk
Yes. But oddly enough, few pet owners take the right steps to protect their pets, their families, and themselves from infestations (see Figure 1)
The truth about cats and dogs
By Portia Stewart
Where does Rover sleep? How much do pet owners spend every year? For answers to these questions and more, explore this list of fun facts about pets and the people who love them.
Where do you stand on nutrition?
By Kelly Stazyk
Months into the pet food recall, the veterinary world is out of sorts, with some dry and wet food varieties still off the shelves. But amid the frustrations, there's some good news: The recall has shifted clients' focus from cost to quality of their pets' diets.
What do clients want?
By Kelly Stazyk
Unfortunately, you can't read clients' minds and predict the information, products, and services they want. But you can take a good guess through a revolutionary process called listening.
Who owns pets?
By Portia Stewart
The number of pet-owning households continues to grow, according to the 2007-2008 APPMA National Pet Owners Survey. About 63 percent of households own pets today, a 7 percent increase from 1988.
Team Building
Who's on your team?
By Portia Stewart
AVMA data shows 56,092 practicing veterinarians in the United States at 27,123 practices. That's about two doctors in each practice. And in two-doctor companion animal practices, the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues (NCVEI) reports a staff-to-doctor ratio of 2.99. That's six team members and two doctors in the average companion animal practice.
How does your team handle conflict?
By Kelly Stazyk
Working at a practice is like growing up in a big family: no matter how huge the habitat, you're never alone. With such little personal space, conflicts can heat up fast. But a little effort can take the work out of working together well.
Front Desk
Fun with numbers
By Portia Stewart
Check out the answers to your questions about your salary and benefits, how to handle team conflict, what clients want, who owns pets, and data on 11 other critical trends.
Marketing Strategies
Does selling your services mean selling out?
By Kelly Stazyk
"No. Here's why a strong recommendation for the care you believe in is the best marketing tool you possess."
Money Matters
How much will clients pay?
By Kelly Stazyk
The dogs, cats, birds, fish, gerbils, and hamsters you see today might look like the same animals that walked into your practice 10 years ago, but they're different. A sign of their status change might be the number of companies that cater to four-legged consumers, including Old Navy, Harley-Davidson, Origins, and Paul Mitchell, just to name a few. You can also look to what their human companions are spending on these and other products—an estimated $40.8 billion in 2007.
What's a client worth?
By Portia Stewart
It's probably more than you think. For example, a typical dog owner spends $219 a year on routine veterinary care, while a cat owner spends $175, according to the 2007-2008 APPMA National Pet Owners Survey (see Figure 1).
Professional Growth
How do you stack up against other professionals?
By Portia Stewart
You can probably look down the street and see someone you know doing a job similar to the one you do every day. The only difference: The patients at your practice are pets, and theirs are people.
Do you need more training?
By Portia Stewart
Seventy percent of Firstline readers say they need in-house training to take the next step in their career, according to the 2007 Firstline Career Path Study. And about 68 percent say they also require formal training to grow in their jobs.
Is your work a job or a career?
By Portia Stewart
What's the difference between a job and a career, and which would you use to describe the work you do? While some team members deliberately take the veterinary path, others just stumble across it by accident. Regardless of how or why, let's see what the label you've chosen means.
Can you work and have a life?
By Portia Stewart
Yes, but it takes practice. Firstline readers who are 46 to 55 years old are most likely to work more than three hours of overtime, while those who are 56 or older report they're most likely to work no overtime.
What's the deal with your salary and benefits?
By Portia Stewart
Pick the right region, check your salary. Too bad it's not that easy. While the regional wage data by title may reveal trends in your pay, it won't tell you what you should be making. Why not?
Web Exclusive
Nutrition questionnaire
Use this sample nutrition questionnaire to learn more about what your clients are feeding their pets--and how much.
Don't let weak recommendations sabotage compliance
In this video, Dr. Dennis Cloud shares the advice he gives his associates to help them get clients on board with recommendations for care.

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