Heartworm prevention: How our language influences care

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Brown dog

April is National Heartworm Awareness Month, and it’s a great opportunity to share information with clients about the importance of prevention. As you prepare for these conversations, turn to AVMA’s new suite of language tools to help choose the best words to get your message across.

The Language of Veterinary Care tools reveal successful strategies – and words – that help veterinarians better connect with clients, build trust, improve compliance, and ultimately bring about better patient outcomes. They include a free ebook, available exclusively to AVMA members, as well as an interactive CE module that can benefit everyone on the veterinary team.

Check out this video, which demonstrates how the words we use when talking about heartworm preventives can either get patients into the clinic for important care, or keep them away.

In the video, a client calls the veterinary practice asking for a refill of his dog’s heartworm preventive. But the dog hasn’t been seen by the veterinarian in over a year, so she needs to come in for an examination. In this scenario, see how the team member’s choice of words leads to two very different outcomes.

Find the full suite of language tools at avma.org/LanguageOfCare. They’re based on AVMA research with pet owners across the United States, made possible in part by educational funding from CareCredit® and Pets Best Pet Health Insurance.

More resources for Heartworm Awareness Month

AVMA News recently reported that the Companion Animal Parasite Council is predicting a rise in heartworm disease among pets in 2022. This makes it all the more important for veterinarians and our teams to talk with clients about heartworm prevention, both in person and on social media.

Direct clients to avma.org/Heartworm for information about the disease, including the importance of prevention. And send them home with AVMA’s Heartworm Disease brochure, also available in Spanish: Enfermedad del Parásito del Corazón.


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