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Vet Record launches new series to give vets an insight into what owners are thinking

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Vet Record launches new series to give vets an insight into what owners are thinking

This week, Vet Record (formerly Veterinary Record) launches a new feature “What Is Your Client Thinking?” where owners set the learning agenda for vets.

It is part of the journal’s strategy to encourage vets and owners to work together as partners to improve care.

Each month, clients, and occasionally veterinary surgeons, will explore different experiences of animal ownership, giving an insight into what clients are thinking, often at times when it is too difficult for them to explicitly air their feelings.

“We hope to stimulate discussion and learning around what matters to clients,” says Suzanne Jarvis, Managing Editor of Vet Record. “Sometimes clients don’t behave in the way we might expect and that can lead to frustrations for vets. Even though a client may have a strong attachment to their pet dog, for example, they may not administer medication as directed.”

She adds: “Client-vet communication can sometimes breakdown due to a number of reasons, for example time pressures or misunderstandings on both sides. When things go wrong in the client-vet relationship, ineffective communication is often the cause. Through building some analysis of the client-vet consultation, we hope to encourage vets to reflect on how they interact with clients and what partnership means in practice.”

In the first article, entitled “Labour and love for Mr Pink” Louise Locock describes the challenges and rewards of caring for her cat with chronic kidney disease. She highlights the huge amount of work involved in his care, and asks: “Why did we keep going so long? … Did we judge the tipping point between survival and welfare right?”

Vet Zoe Belshaw, suggested the new addition to the journal after discovering for herself how tough it can be to look after a sick animal. The experience of looking after her ill elderly dog led her to a PhD looking at how vets and owners make decisions about dogs with osteoarthritis.

“I found that usually vets and owners wanted the same thing – a happy dog that lived a comfortable life for as long as possible,” she writes. “However, both vets and owners expressed a great deal of frustration with what happened during some consultations involving osteoarthritic dogs,” she adds.

“As a result, working together on the best possible outcome for the dog sometimes stopped being the focus, and there appeared to be negative emotional impacts for both vet and owner. I thought shining a light on the human aspects of veterinary medicine could be valuable.”

What is your client is thinking and why should you care?
Labour and love for Mr Pink
Journal: Vet Record