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Implementation

 

How to use Heart Health Month Awareness tools

You have multiple tools that can be readily downloaded to help you promote Heart Health Month online or set up educational client events and promote those events both within your clinic and in the community. Because approximately 10% of dogs in a practice have heart disease1, a good proportion of your clients could benefit from a better understanding of heart disease, why their dog might be at risk, and what they can do to encourage a longer and higher quality of life for their dogs.

The earlier a dog owner is involved in monitoring and caring for their pet, teaming up with your clinic staff, the better the chances that the dog will do well. The key is early diagnosis, followed by regular monitoring as well as appropriate treatment at the right point in the course of the disease.

Resources to introduce Heart Health Month online

         Digital resource kit:

  • Use the website, email, and e-newsletter templates to inform your clients about Heart Health Month
  • Add the web banner to your website
  • Alert the media about your commitment to canine heart health
  • Watch the Steve Dale interview with Dr. Joffe as they review canine heart health and the importance of discussing the disease
  • Educate your clients through social media
  • Encourage your clients to participate in the YourDogsHeart.com Facebook promotion

Resources to promote your in-clinic event using the full kit

Client flyer:

  • Print out multiple copies and put them on the front desk for clients to notice and take with them.
  • Send the flyer as an attachment to clients in an invitation email.
  • Instruct the front desk staff to proactively distribute the flyers to clients.

Clinic poster:

  • Print out and post it in a prominent place in the front desk area and in examining rooms.
  • Instruct the front desk staff to proactively draw clients’ attention to the poster and offer to answer any questions clients might have about the event.

Pre-recorded answering machine/on-hold phone message:

  • Tailor the script provided to incorporate the details of your clinic’s event.
  • Have a staff member record it on your phone system, so clients who are put on hold or who call after hours hear this important message about your upcoming educational event.

Media announcements/radio script:

  • Tailor the script provided to incorporate the details of your clinic’s event.
  • Contact local newspapers and radio stations and ask them to use your information to make a community announcement.
  • A script and how-to guide are available for you to use on the Resources page.

Social media:

  • Tailor the script provided to incorporate the details of your clinic’s event.
  • If your clinic has a Facebook page or Twitter account, feel free to use a starter list of posts available for you to use on the Resources page.

Resources to use at your events

Several tools are also available to help you educate clients once you have gathered them together for an event.

Dog owner brochure:

  • Print out enough copies of this 8-page booklet to distribute to all the clients at your event.
  • Distribute to clients at the event—this is an excellent handout for clients to have at home to review after the event.
  • Place extra copies in the waiting room to reach additional clients.

Clinic poster:

  • Mount this informational poster on heart disease in the room where your event is being held and use it as a visual aid during your discussion.
  • Display the poster throughout your clinic as well to reach additional clients.

Sample text for the clinic website and e-newsletter:

  • Ask the staff person responsible for updating website content to create an educational section on canine heart disease using the sample text, or add it to your Events page or online calendar.
  • If your clinic has an e-newsletter, devote a section of it to heart disease using the sample text.

Your Dog’s Heart target breathing rate app:

  • Familiarize yourself with the app.
  • Demonstrate the app at your event and show clients how to download and use it.

Client target breathing rate monitoring sheet:

  • Show clients this instructional sheet at the event when you discuss the app, to reinforce how you will work closely with them to establish what their dogs’ target breath rate should be and ask them to help monitor the breathing rate.
  • Show clients how to measure their dogs’ target breathing rate.
  • Highlight the QR code that allows clients to download the app to their mobile devices, if they haven’t already.
  • Use this sheet on individual client visits to write down the target breath rate for the specific dog, explain how to take a target breath rate, and instruct on when to email the clinic veterinarian if the breath rate varies from the target.
  • Use this sheet to transition into a discussion of the need to begin monitoring dogs even before they show clinical signs of heart disease, stressing that early detection and intervention is most beneficial for the dog.
  • Familiarize yourself with the ACVIM staging system for heart disease, so you can better explain to clients when you would like to begin more routine monitoring of their dog (ie, at Stage B when structural signs of heart disease such as a murmur are present but clinical signs are not yet evident).

Flyer on the role of the cardiologist:

  • Print out multiple flyers to distribute to clients at your event.
  • Inform clients about the tests you usually do in your clinic for dogs at risk of heart disease.
  • Explain what a cardiologist is and how he or she can help team up with you to manage dogs with heart disease.
  • Give an overview of the additional diagnostic tests and services cardiologists might perform.
  • Explain the referral process and why a clinic might want clients to take their dogs to another facility to see a cardiologist—or to see a visiting cardiologist at your clinic.

Reference:

1. Atkins C, Bonagura J, Ettinger S, et al. Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of canine chronic valvular heart disease. J Vet Intern Med. 2009;23(6):1142–1150.