Preventive Care: The Role of Practice Culture in Veterinary Medicine

In the world of veterinary medicine, preventive care protocols serve as the cornerstone of maintaining optimal health and well-being for beloved pets. Yet, the success of these protocols heavily relies on the practice culture cultivated within veterinary practices. From collaboration with labs to effective communication with pet owners, every aspect of the practice plays a pivotal role in promoting regular diagnostic testing. Let's dive into the key strategies that managers and owners can employ to foster a culture that prioritizes wellness testing and achieves high levels of compliance from pet owners.

Take Advantage of Your Reference Lab

By actively engaging with your diagnostic lab partners, veterinary practices can ensure seamless access to cutting-edge diagnostic tools and timely results. This approach not only facilitates the smooth integration of wellness care protocols but also empowers veterinarians to stay abreast of the latest advancements in diagnostic testing. Trust in your labs opens the door for ongoing communication, allowing for insightful case discussions and expert guidance on results whenever your team needs it.

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Encouraging Feedback

Feedback is another crucial component in nurturing a culture of preventive care. Encouraging open communication within your team will allow for the exchange of ideas, concerns, and suggestions. Utilizing feedback from the whole team, including veterinary technicians, client service representatives, and other team members, managers can gain valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing screening diagnostics. This collaborative approach empowers the entire team to actively contribute to improving and refining your practice's wellness testing protocols.

Thorough Training

To help your team feel confident in their recommendations, ensure they all receive comprehensive training on the importance of diagnostics and are able to stay up to date on the latest techniques and protocols available—this may also count toward their continuing education. Make sure that team members are also competent in their communication with clients. An extensive pet owner study conducted by IDEXX in 2023 revealed that the most compelling preventive care message was that routine testing can uncover potential issues in up to 40% of dogs and 60% of cats. Sharing this important statistic with your team, encouraging them to communicate this message to clients, and training them on other communication habits can increase preventive care compliance. As a leader, demonstrate your personal commitment to screening diagnostics via your own actions, decisions, and attitudes.

Monitoring Key Metrics

Monitoring key metrics related to screening rates, diagnostic accuracy, and patient outcomes is a great tool for assessing the effectiveness of wellness testing protocols. By monitoring these metrics and analyzing trends over time, managers can identify areas for improvement and tailor their strategies accordingly. This data-driven approach enables practices to optimize their preventive care efforts and enhance the overall health outcomes of their patients.

Normalizing "No"

Normalize "nos" and prepare your team for how to handle objections from pet owners as essential aspects of promoting wellness testing. Equip team members with the necessary tools and resources to address common concerns and objections, helping to normalize the "no" scenario from a client. By doing so, managers can instill confidence and professionalism in their interactions with clients. Emphasizing the importance of wellness testing even in the face of resistance underscores the commitment of the practice to the well-being of its patients.


Incentives serve as powerful motivators for promoting screening diagnostics among team members. Implement incentive programs that recognize and reward their efforts in advocating wellness testing, which can significantly boost morale and engagement. Whether through monetary rewards, recognition awards, or other incentives, managers can inspire team members to actively promote the importance of regular diagnostic testing to pet owners.

Team Pets

Offering your team free wellness testing on their own pets can be a compelling way to encourage team members to experience the benefits firsthand. By allowing team members to undergo screening diagnostics for their own pets, managers can foster empathy and understanding of the importance. It also means they can relate better to clients as they can pull from personal experience.

Preventive care is crucial for pet health, and maintaining veterinary practice culture plays a key role in promoting regular wellness testing. These strategies can help shape your practice culture and change how your practice interacts with and promotes preventive care.

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Laura Sullivan

Laura Sullivan qualified from the Royal Veterinary College in 2009 and is an experienced small animal veterinary surgeon. In practice, she has performed various roles, including associate veterinarian, locum veterinarian, and clinical director. Alongside her clinical work, entrepreneur Laura is on a mission to help veterinary and healthcare professionals become more sustainable. She founded 'All Scrubbed Up Scrub Hats' - a small business creating bespoke eco friendly, reusable scrub hats for the veterinary, dental, and healthcare heroes of the world. The views and opinions in this piece are the authors own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of either The Vetiverse or IDEXX.

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