Parasite prevention is here to stay

You may feel as if you’ve explained parasite life cycles and the need for protection till you’re blue in the face, and yet, pet owners still need your help to understand the value of consistent testing, treatment (if necessary) and prevention.

Parasite protection may still be one of the most important discussions you can have with every one of your clients. Turns out, they’re already interested because 90 percent of pet owners want to be notified when there’s a high incidence of parasites in their county, and 89 percent of these owners would be likely to make an appointment to have their pet tested.1

It takes a team effort to prevent parasites. Everyone at your practice not only plays a critical role in parasite prevention for your patients, it’s vital for team members to fully understand the diseases caused by parasites. Heartworm disease, for example, is preventable, while treating dogs for heartworm infection is expensive; and the disease can cause permanent damage to blood vessels. When your team is confident about the facts, they’re better prepared to help clients understand your recommendation to protect their dog every month from this devastating disease, and other parasitic diseases.

Protecting more pets from parasites takes a year-round focus, too. Parasites pose an almost constant threat to the health of pets all year. The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) recommends routine, year-round use of parasite control products, along with environmental and pet management to minimize the risk of infection. As you work to make parasite prevention a priority at your practice, try selecting a specific parasite, such as heartworm, to be the foundation parasite. More than 75 percent of pet owners are concerned about heartworms in their pets.1 As your team explains the risks, reinforce the importance of year-round preventive, and why it’s worth the cost.

Everyone on the team can help clients understand the value of parasite protection. Successful practices make sure every member of their staff is ready to address cost concerns about parasite-related testing or year-round preventive products.

  • Receptionist/Technician 

When making appointments with new clients, the receptionist or technician should ask if the pet is already on a preventive and emphasize the importance of monthly parasite control.

  • Veterinary Nurse/Technician

During the initial history and physical exam, the veterinary nurse can ask lifestyle questions, provide facts about parasite control, and discuss diagnostic testing. This is the best time to mention the practice has client financing options to help clients with the cost of testing and prevention.

  • Veterinarian

The doctor explains why she/he recommends year-round parasite control, and describes which tests and products would be best for the pet. This can also be a good time to discuss local incidence or trends.

So, on days when your team feel like they’d rather talk about anything but parasites, remember heartworm infections are diagnosed in more than 115,000 dogs each year.2 The fact is, clients still need your help to understand how to protect the pets they love­.

Written by Patricia Thomblison, DVM, MS

1. Connecting with Today’s Clients: The Importance of Local, Timely Parasite Information, from the Companion Animal Parasite Council sponsored by Bayer Healthcare Animal Health, 2014. 

2. Companion Animal Parasite Council Parasite Prevalence Maps,

CareCredit shares this information solely for your convenience. All statements are the sole opinions of Dr. Patricia Thomblison, and CareCredit makes no representations or warranties regarding this content. 




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