When COVID-19 restrictions were put into place, the question arose:

What is considered “essential”?

Is dermatology considered essential? Why or why not?

In episode 29 of The Derm Vet Podcast, I’m joined by Veterinary Dermatologist and dear friend, Dr. Rebecca Mount, to discuss:

  • How dermatology is essential to the quality of life of the animal, and to relieving caretaker burden for owners
  • How we can empathize and communicate effectively with clients who may feel frustrated and defeated by their pet’s skin issues
  • How to assess your client’s goals for their pet and create a treatment plan accordingly

How do your clients feel about their pet’s derm problems? Where are they in their treatment journey? Are they mentally and financially drained from seeking treatment?

These are all valid and important questions to consider in order to empathize with your clients. If you can find a way to relate their problems to some of your own experiences, you can establish a sense of comfort for them, and they’ll be more willing and ready to hear your treatment suggestions.

How can we properly set expectations for our clients?

Remember, skin issues are generally a visual ailment. Your client is seeing physical changes happen with their pet’s skin, and the caretaker in them wants a cure. In many cases, there will not be a one-time treatment that will provide their pet a cure to last forever, so they should know that up front. Their pet can still achieve a normal quality of life, but it may take constant management. Your client understanding that from the beginning can save them a lot of frustration further down the road.

How do I finetune assessing the needs of each client?

This will take some practice, but you’ll pick up on subtleties that will reveal the needs of each individual client. Some will want LOTS of information, and will want to know the “whys” of everything you suggest doing during treatment. These clients will ask lots of questions and be very engaged. If your client is disengaged during an appointment, it may be due to information overload. Some clients just want to know what the next step is, and are counting on you to give them clear instructions without the details. If you aren’t sure what they need, ask!

Empathy for frustrated clients is a skill that will ultimately lead to relief for their pets. When we can relate to them, understand where they are in their journey, and recognize their goals, we have the best opportunity to make progress with a treatment plan.

The top three things to remember?

  1. Stay flexible
  2. Cytology everything
  3. Follow up!

Want even more information on addressing the quality of life of your patients and the needs of their owners within essential dermatology treatment?

Make sure to catch the FULL episode on The Derm Vet Podcast!