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How to Initiate the Vaccine Conversation

Vaccines save lives but they can also be controversial. Beginning a conversation about them with clients can be fraught with challenges. Pet owners want to protect their pets from disease, but they’re also concerned about the potential for vaccine reactions or overvaccination. Here are some ways you can alleviate their fears.

Start with technicians. Having them bring up the subject in the exam room before you come in. You may have a brochure about vaccines and the ones you recommend that they can share with clients first.

Depending on the risks in your area or a particular animal’s lifestyle, that may include not only core vaccines for dogs and cats but also Bordetella, leptospirosis, Lyme, and feline leukemia vaccines. Include information about the vaccine products you use and why they are beneficial for pets. If clients are undecided about whether they want vaccines, the technician can leave the brochure with them to read before you come in.

Oftentimes people are concerned about the amount of vaccine in a dose. And that’s not just owners with small or young pets, but all pets of any age or size. When you can tell them that with new technology, you can protect their pet with a lower volume of a vaccine designed to decrease unwanted cellular debris and extraneous protein, widely accepted as a key factor in vaccine reactions, and that can be given with a smaller needle, increasing the pet’s comfort, they will appreciate that you are addressing their pets’ needs and comfort and their concerns in a safe and effective way.

They may also prefer the ease and comfort for pets of oral Bordetella vaccines. Administering this vaccine—just a squirt on the gums—can go so quickly that owners may miss it if you don’t draw their attention to it as you give it.

Owners who still have concerns may ask if the vaccines are really necessary or if you give them to your own pets. If you can answer yes, it makes a strong statement. That may be all they need to hear.

Having the vaccine discussion with these factors in mind is a powerful way to build relationships with clients.

This article was reviewed/edited by board-certified veterinary behaviorist Dr. Kenneth Martin and/or veterinary technician specialist in behavior Debbie Martin, LVT.This post is brought to you by our sponsor, Elanco, the makers of Credelio® (lotilaner) and
Interceptor® Plus (milbemycin oxime/praziquantel).

© 2020 Elanco. PM-US-19-1901

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