Inside AAHA August 2022

AAHA board member Scott Driever, DVM, Discusses the importance of dermatology and its role in connecting with clients. Log in to the AAHA Community to see this year’s finalists in the AAHA-Accredited Practice of the Year Awards.

View from the Board

Dermatology: A Make-or-Break Connection with Clients

One of the biggest joys I get from working in this field is developing the relationships I am able to foster over many years with my clients. This is an amazing profession that allows us to speak for those without a voice and be their advocate. This month’s Trends focuses on a few of the areas that really bond our clients to us and our practices but also have the potential to cause a loss of trust if we make an error or if a client chooses not to follow recommendations and is unhappy with the subsequent lack of results.

The very last rotation I had in my fourth year of veterinary school was dermatology. I will never forget Dr. Bob Kennis telling us that whether we liked dermatology cases or not, we would be seeing a ton of them in general practice, so we had better pay attention. I never doubted his wisdom, but I also didn’t imagine the sheer volume of dermatology cases I would be seeing in my hospital. Helping a miserably atopic dog or discovering the ever-elusive food-allergic dog is wonderful and strengthens the human-animal bond along with the client-veterinarian bond. Unfortunately, the inverse is also the case. If we are not able to make the pet more comfortable and manage expectations, then we have not done our job effectively.

I went into this profession understanding that I would be challenged every day while helping pets, but I didn’t realize every pet has people associated with them and that my interactions with those people would sometimes be just as challenging as the veterinary work. I know that I am not the only one who sees second-opinion dermatology cases because the client was not happy with the original outcome. I see these cases not because the first veterinarian did anything wrong, but because the client did not fully understand the limits of treatment. Managing expectations is a team effort and some days are better than others, but this problem can be mitigated with effective communication.

There are so many aspects of working in a veterinary hospital that I never considered when I was starting in this profession. I never realized just how much I would be dealing with people and all of the unexpected questions that can sometimes come with that. I never thought I would actually have to say, “No ma’am, the tablet for the urinary tract infection is given by mouth, not introduced directly into the urinary tract.” Anyone working in this field for more than a week will have some similar stories.

Twenty-two years into my career, I now love this aspect of working in a veterinary hospital. I used to become frustrated by having to respond to questions from left field, but now I have learned to embrace the chaotic days and never-ending curveballs thrown at our teams. Celebrate the clients who ask you questions you have never had to answer before and remember that we are the people that give their beloved pets a voice. We are there at the beginning and the end and everything in between. This is not a burden; it is a blessing that we should all embrace.

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Scott Driever, DVM, is a director on the AAHA board. Driver is a Houston native who received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Texas A&M University in 2000. Upon graduation, he moved back to Houston and began his veterinary career at Animal Hospital Highway 6 in Sugar Land, Texas, where he became a partner in 2005. In 2015, he purchased the rest of the practice and became a sole owner. His wife, Susan, is the office manager at the practice.

Meet the 2022 AAHA-Accredited Practice of the Year Finalists

We’re spotlighting the finalists for the prestigious AAHA-Accredited Practice of the Year award in the AAHA Community.

Log in at community.aaha.org to pick your favorites—and gain inspiration from all of the outstanding teams who’ve made it to the final round.

Which of these AAHA-accredited practices will take the grand prize? We won’t find out until the awards ceremony during Connexity in Nashville next month!

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This month in AAHA’s Publicity Toolbox . . .

Here are the downloadable social media images available for AAHA-accredited members at aaha.org/publicity:

  • National Immunization Awareness Month
  • DOGust 1st (Happy birthday to all shelter dogs!)
    August 1
  • International Assistance Dog Week
    August 7–13
  • International Cat Day
    August 8
  • National Check the Chip Day
    August 15
  • National Black Cat Appreciation Day
    August 17
  • National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day
    August 22

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Don’t forget:

AAHA-accredited Hospital Day—July 22  is YOUR day! Download social media images, find celebration ideas, and more in AAHA’s Publicity Toolbox.

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