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See what clinics have been doing to build client awareness of canine heart disease

 

Heart Health Month and Chat with a Cardiologist Day

Our clinic had already successfully participated in both the Trial and Outreach portions of the Every Heart Counts initiative. Our initial outreach was pretty focused though, we only sent postcards out to dogs with murmurs that needed follow up. Then we wanted to raise awareness for a larger selection of our clients. So we decided to create a list of all the clients with at-risk breeds and reached out to them next.

This time we also set up activities in the office to go along with the outreach initiative. We invited each of these clients to bring in their at-risk dogs for a checkup and a chance to meet with a local cardiologist. The event was scheduled on a Saturday to encourage maximum participation. We made it fun as well as educational. There was popcorn for humans and kibble for dogs. It was easy to promote using the sample poster and flyers that Every Heart Counts provided. We also had the waiting room decorated at least a week in advance and a week afterwards for other targeted clients that came in around that time but couldn’t make the main event. It really turned out great and raised awareness for sure!

The Arizona Dog Walk

Our clinic had not yet participated in the Every Heart Counts program, but one of our associate veterinarians was trying to organize a dog walking event and we decided that it fit perfectly as a heart health awareness event. We used the sample posters and flyers to promote to our whole client base. It was not only a great relationship-building opportunity with our customers, but we took the initiative to educate them about the risk of heart disease at the same time. We discussed dog walking as a great way to help dogs stay healthy and how to modify diet and exercise programs when managing a disease, such as heart disease. In fact, we even identified a dog that was having difficulty with the exercise during the dog walk. We later diagnosed him with heart disease and gave the owner a starter kit as part of the Trial program. The patient is currently being treated and the owner is relieved to have caught his heart disease early as part of the event. It was like icing on the cake!

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.