How Felines and Business Trends Relate
There are many business trends that shape the veterinary industry, and right now one of them is focused on felines!
In the 2012 Pet Demographic Survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the percentage of households with cats that had not seen a veterinarian in a year increased 24 percent when compared to households five years earlier.
The survey also released material that showed:
- When comparing the United States population of cats and dogs:
- Cats make up nearly 55% of the total population
- When looking at the cat and dog patient base in veterinary offices:
- Dogs make up 50 percent of the total
- Cats only make up 39 percent of the total.
Based on this information, practices are missing out on a feline opportunity that could provide tremendous growth potential.
What Keeps Clients From Bringing Their Cats To the Veterinarian?
When surveyed, cat owners responded with the following information:
- 41% will only visit the veterinarian for vaccinations
- 39% will only take their cat to the veterinarian if it is sick
- 58% report that they don’t bring their animal in because the cat hates going to the veterinarian
- 38% feel stress when just thinking about bringing their cat to the veterinarian
- Of all the cats that do visit the veterinarian, they still average 26% fewer visits than dogs.
In another study, the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues (NCVEI) identified additional explanations. Their findings indicate that the following reasons are important enough to forgo bringing their cat in to see the veterinarian.
- Cost of veterinary care
- Economic recession
- The fragmentation of veterinary services
- Lack of understanding of the need for feline care.
Two separate studies that both found reasons for keeping cats out of the practice door. What can be done to change this?
Educate Your Clients
Taking the steps to educate clients will reduce stress levels.
- Explain the details of a feline healthcare plan and what they should expect from following its regimen.
- Number of veterinary examinations
- Types of procedures and tests
- Vaccination needs
- Provide tips on such things as:
- Ways to keep cat healthy while at home
- Handling a sick cat
- Ways to quickly get a cat in a carrier
- How to administer medicine
- Explain the types of symptoms they should watch for that indicate their pet is ill
- Prepare a newsletter to send to clients that contains interesting feline information
- Use social media and e-mail to provide additional information and collect contacts.
Make Your Clinic Cat-Friendly
Provide a cat-only area that is quiet and calming:
- Arrange seating to reduce stress
- Provide pamphlets and magazines that focus on specific items that relate to cats
- Hold seminars that teach clients about:
- Feline vaccinations
- Diet recommendations
- Boarding facilities
- Different life-stage needs from kitten through geriatric.
Prepare Your Staff
Communicate to staff the need to reach the clients and their cats and the plans to succeed.
- Identify topics for the clinic team members to cover with clients
- Use posters, models, and pamphlets in the waiting room and examination room that help to explain cat care
- Prepare a questionnaire for receptionist and front desk staff that will gather information on the cats being examined and on any possible cats at home.
By putting these steps into play, practices may discover they can change a client’s mind about bringing their cat to the veterinary office.
Looking for more topics regarding business trends? Contact your Henry Schein representative today at 855.SCHEIN1!
American Veterinary Medical Association
Sources: Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study, 2012 AVMA Demographic Sourcebook
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