Aug
27
2003

Compliance has become “the” buzzword in the veterinary industry and is the focus of many reports. One of the common threads among them—compliance is down.

A Gallup poll, reported in a release by the American Heartworm Society, surveyed 18,000 veterinary clinics across the United States. Only 55 percent of dog-owning households are using heartworm preventives—down from 66 percent in 1998. In the AAHA compliance study, only 48 percent complied with heartworm preventive recommendations.

The AAHA survey also studied compliance in therapeutic diets, dental prophylaxes, senior screenings, core vaccines and preanesthetic testing.

It may seem that the current economic downturn would be a major factor in the compliance equation, but actually, according to the AAHA study, less than 10 percent of clients abandon recommended treatments due to cost. In fact, clients are spending more on their pets than ever before. A July 15 article from the Los Angeles Times stated that Americans spent nearly $30 billion for pet care last year, more than double what was spent 10 years ago. A study by Unity Marketing, a research and consulting firm , showed that the average pet owner spent $215 annually on pet extras, in addition to food and veterinary care.

Pet owners’ spending trends are a positive indicator for veterinarians. The task is now to bridge the gap between noncompliance and the client’s desire to provide the best care for their pets.

The Path to High-Quality Care, the book detailing the AAHA compliance study, is available online for members at www.aahanet.org. The publication provides a measurement tool and tips for increasing compliance in your practice.

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