Introduction vii

 1 Why do we need clients?
Why do we need clients? – The vet as social worker – The vet’s role and status in society – The responsibility of the profession – Responsibility of the individual vet to the profession – Stress avoidance – Benefits of good client relations – Pets need vets?

 2 Making clients feel at home
Having the right state of mind – Practice ambience – Surgery pets – Staff selection and training – The practice’s attitude to clients – Dress code – How familiar should you be? – The advantages of friendly relations with clients – The pitfalls of familiarity – Meeting new clients– Making time for a client – To joke or not to joke – Children

 3 Making your message understood
Problems of misunderstanding – Missing the point – Tailoring your language – Getting a meaningful history – The advantages of getting your point across – Methods of client education – Newsletters – Handouts – The waiting room – Pre-operative instructions – Consent forms – Post- operative instructions – Vaccination health checks – Action plans– Using the media – Value for money

 4 Clients have pets as well
Pets are loved – The first time – Calming techniques – Avoiding further stress – Chemical aids to animal handling – Bribery – Outside the consulting room – Staff involvement – Experience in keeping pets – Knowing your species

 5 The art of persuasion
The need for persuasion – Advantages of keeping pets – The ‘my pet/my friend’ approach – The soft sell – Examples of situations needing persuasion – Vaccinations – Health checks – Laboratory tests – Diets: weight reducing or clinical – Operations – Treatment for less valuable pets – Treatment for the ailments of old age – Dental care – Insurance – Paying bills (getting your money) – Worming – Flea treatment – Skin and ear cases – Neutering – Alternative therapy – Encouraging well-behaved pets

 6 How to look good
How not to look bad? – Be older – The role of lay staff – Communication: vet to vet and vet to staff – Communication: vet to client – Keeping to appointment times –Promising to contact clients – Be confident – Keeping up to date with therapies – Keeping up to date with current affairs – Know your breeds – Dress code – Professional attitude – A sympathetic approach – Surgery – Contacting owners after operations – Progress reports on in-patients – Follow up calls – Noting details on the records – Noting personal details on records – Being prepared – Coping with badly behaved pets – Unrealistic promises – Avoiding telephone diagnosis – Knowing when to refer – Damage limitation

 7 How to break bad news
Think of the client – Sympathising with owners – How much to tell and when to tell it – The gloomy approach – The eternal optimist – The gentle approach – Do your own dirty work – Body language – When things go wrong – Anaesthetic deaths – The bill – The normal bill – The bill where something has gone wrong

 8 Awkward situations
Second opinions 1: to you – Second opinions 2: from you – Serial clients – Out-of-hours calls – Visits – Mistakes – Complaints – Animals which won’t get better – Misunderstandings – Inadvertent disagreements with colleagues – Bad debtors – Shedding clients

 9 Euthanasia
The gift of euthanasia – Responsibilities – The veiled request for euthanasia – Persuading a client – Recognising the ‘right time’ – Where to do the deed – When to do the deed – How to do the deed – Exotic pets – After the event – Disposal – Planning ahead – The follow up

10 How to be a helpful client
Appointments – Not wasting the vet’s time – Control of your pet – Dangerous pets – Handling pets – Children – Answering questions – Listening to the vet – Repeat prescriptions – Out-of-hours service – Knowing the form


The Author: Carl Gorman qualified from Bristol Veterinary School in the days before Langford graduates went into careers in television. Forced into general practice, in 1989 he and his wife Suzanne bought a clinic in the south of England which has flourished. He has a range of interests, some of which are veterinary related, including comparative client and animal behaviour. Having decided that writing was a good excuse for obtaining computer equipment and software, he is the author of The Ageing Dog, and together with Suzanne, of the booklet Golden Years.
I am impressed with what I have seen of the book. The only problem is convincing the rest of the profession that they need to read it ... once they start, they will see its value.

Threshold Press reviewer