Sometimes veterinarians say the most absurd things. I remember delivering a head–scratcher not long ago. The words sounded ridiculous even as they left my mouth: “Your pet looks great! Would you like to do some senior lab work? It only costs $165!”

The woman I addressed was holding a 14-year-old Papillon that was otherwise relatively healthy. She looked at me like I had just told her she was beautiful and then recommended a plastic surgeon. Watching her face, I saw pride turn to confusion, then distrust, and finally, conviction. “No, thank you.”

During a busy day, distracted veterinarians often make the mistake I did. They put forth off-the-cuff recommendations that lack the conviction and support necessary to ensure client acceptance (or even consideration). I have since regularly used a few tips for making more effective senior lab work recommendations.

Here are 3 great tips:

Tip #1: Define the Term

It’s easy to forget that phrases we use commonly in practice are completely foreign to the majority of our clients. Examples of veterinary diagnostic jargon include “senior lab work,” “wellness testing,” “geriatric panel,” and my least favorite, “the sunset panel.” (Note: In my opinion, this last one sounds dangerously close to a “your pet is steadily dying” test.)

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Originally published: Exceptional Veterinary Team, Sept. 1, 2012


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