Year-round client satisfaction and flea and tick prevention: What’s the connection?
Most veterinarians recommend year-round flea and tick prevention for dogs and cats due to the high prevalence of fleas and ticks and related complications, including flea allergy dermatitis, anemia, and vector-borne diseases such as Lyme, Babesiosis, and Bartonellosis that also pose a risk to pet owners.
However, pet owner treatment adherence, which is critical for medication effectiveness, often falls short of our recommendations. Preventive treatment gaps can expose pets as well as humans in the household to the diseases that fleas and ticks carry; furthermore, lost revenue from poor client adherence to veterinary recommendations may make the medication we prescribe look less efficacious when parasites return, frustrating the owner and at the same time reducing clinic revenue.
A cross-sectional study of 24 US veterinary hospitals found that while almost all recommended 12 months of flea and tick prevention, only 62% of dog owners recalled this recommendation.[i]
It is important that we provide our clients with information about the treatment options that will work best for them. Monthly treatments may leave gaps in protection because clients may overlook the required dose, while less frequent dosing is generally associated with significantly higher adherence rates.i One flea and tick treatment, fluralaner, an isoxazoline, provides up to 12 weeks* of protection with one dose.
That translates into almost 3x-longer protection than monthly treatments, covering one year with about four doses vs. 12 doses for monthly products. In a survey of 25 veterinary practices in the US, 65% of pet owners said they were more likely to give the next dose on time compared with monthly products, which they’d have to give more frequently.[ii]
Analyses of veterinary records show that dog owners using a longer-acting treatment are more likely to keep their dogs protected from fleas and ticks for more months of the year compared with those using monthly treatments:
- In the US, dog owners prescribed the longer-acting treatment achieved a gain in the average duration of flea and tick protection of up to 73%.[iii]
- US pet owners (96%) were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the longer-acting treatment, specifying convenience (74%), the 12-week dosing interval (69%), and less frequent dosing (68%) as the most important benefits.[iv]
- Supporting the US level of satisfaction, a large number of UK (97%) and Australia (94%) pet owners were also either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the longer-acting treatment.[v]
Increased client adherence with longer-acting flea and tick formulations offers multiple benefits: pet owners are more likely to give medications that are easy to administer, and pets are less likely to experience gaps in coverage with longer-acting treatment. Ultimately, increased client adherence results in more months of protection for pets, satisfied pet owners, and potentially increased revenue for your practice.
Link: The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the threat parasites present to pets and family members, offers information and resources for veterinarians and our clients.
By Diedra D. Clark, DVM, Senior Professional Services Veterinarian, Merck Animal Health
[ii] Lavan et al. Flea and tick treatment satisfaction and preferences of dog owners in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia who have treated their dog with fluralaner. J Vet Sci Technol (2019) 10: 574.
[v] Lavan et al. Flea and tick treatment satisfaction, preference, and adherence of dog owners in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia who treated their dog with fluralaner. Open Veterinary Journal, (2020), Vol. 10(2): 135–143.
Photo credit: iStock/Halfpoint