Perfecting the Preventive Care Follow-Up Call with Pet Owners

As veterinarians, we know that good communication with pet owners is key to building good rapport and strong relationships, and ultimately, providing the best possible care for their pets. One important aspect of client communication is the follow-up call after a preventive care wellness visit.

Reiterate the Clinical Importance

First, it's important to reiterate the importance of routine preventive care for cats and dogs, especially as they get older. Start with reminding clients what tests were performed and what you looked at, reviewing any clinical suspicions you had based on your clinical exam findings, or any concerns they may have raised during their visit. This shows that you care about their pet's health and well-being and helps establish trust with clients.

  Wondering how to talk with clients about preventive care? Learn how to start the conversation in our e-book, 5 Tips for Talking with Clients about Preventive Care

Explain the Value of a Diagnostic Baseline

It is easy to see the benefit of screening diagnostics when things are abnormal and you have caught potential disease early, but it can sometimes be difficult to explain that even normal results provide a lot of beneficial information that help manage their pet's care in the long term. For example, you might explain that running the tests yearly helps veterinarians understand what's normal for each pet, as well as screen for common conditions. Let pet owners know that subtle changes in their pet's results can signal the presence of disease even before any outward signs of illness are present, helping veterinarians detect problems earlier, leading to better clinical outcomes. Once pet owners recognize that these tests allow you to look after their pets better, they'll have a better grasp on the importance of routine preventive care testing and its value and will likely be more open to wellness testing.

Confirm Follow-Up Steps

When you share test results with pet owners, include follow-up steps if any results were abnormal and subsequent testing is needed. Take the time to explain what further tests might entail, the potential costs involved, and how these tests will help confirm or rule out potential conditions. If results are within normal range, reiterate the importance of establishing a baseline for the pet and discuss the benefits of annual or regular wellness monitoring as their pet ages as a useful preventive care screening tool. You should then confirm with the client when their pet's next appointment should be booked. Encourage them to do so with your team today or let them know that your team will reach out to book this with them.

When the Pet Owner Declines Testing

In cases where the owner opted out of preventive care testing or decided not to do the full recommended testing, it's important to address this in follow-up communication. You could say something like, "During the next visit, it would be good if we ran full routine testing to make sure we're not missing anything and to establish a baseline." Remember, just because the pet owner declined once doesn't mean they always will. Staying consistent with messaging on the importance of routine testing helps pet owners remain clear on your practice's recommendations. It also shows you care about their pet's health and well-being and are committed to providing the best possible care.

Utilize Veterinary Techs

Some practices utilize their vet techs to do the follow-up communication if the results are normal or negative. Giving your vet tech team a few pointers here can help. Encourage them to be empathetic, listen to the client's concerns, and flag any questions they may have. In closing, they should also congratulate the owner on taking the appropriate steps toward keeping their pet healthy by scheduling yearly wellness exams and testing.

Perfecting the wellness follow-up call is an important aspect of client communication. With this call, you can build a stronger relationship with clients and provide the best possible care for their pets.

Laura Sullivan

Laura Sullivan qualified from the Royal Veterinary College in 2009 and is an experienced small animal veterinary surgeon. In practice, she has performed various roles, including associate veterinarian, locum veterinarian, and clinical director. Alongside her clinical work, entrepreneur Laura is on a mission to help veterinary and healthcare professionals become more sustainable. She founded 'All Scrubbed Up Scrub Hats' - a small business creating bespoke eco friendly, reusable scrub hats for the veterinary, dental, and healthcare heroes of the world. The views and opinions in this piece are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of either The Vetiverse or IDEXX.

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