Cardiovascular diseases are some of the most common conditions encountered in daily veterinary practice. Approximately 10% of pets examined by veterinarians have some form of heart disease, and while many require only monitoring, others benefit from treatment. Some of these patients will progress to heart failure, which can be challenging for a general practitioner to manage. Consulting with a veterinary cardiologist can give you the tools required to get better control of a patient’s heart disease faster. VESPECON shares additional ways that consulting with a veterinary cardiologist can improve patient care.
#1: Better heart disease diagnosis and management
You probably have the tools you need to diagnose and treat heart disease in your hospital, but you may lack the necessary knowledge or skill. Consulting with a specialist can fill your knowledge gaps so you can properly guide your clients and care for your patients. Do you need a refresher on calculating vertebral heart scores? Would you feel more comfortable if an expert could review X-rays or echo results for you? Specialist consultation can help. Consultation is also a great option when you aren’t quite comfortable handling a case but your client refuses an in-person referral.
#2: Improve patient survival
Studies done on small breed dogs with myxomatous valve disease show that patients co-managed by their primary care veterinarian and a veterinary cardiologist had longer survival times than those managed in primary care alone. The co-managed dogs in congestive heart failure had a median 74% longer survival time, resulting in 22% greater revenue for the primary care practice. Our goal as veterinarians is to treat animal disease and keep pets healthy as long as possible, and collaborative care is a proven method to accomplish this.
#3: Increased hospital revenue
Cardiologist consultations can increase revenue in two ways. The first is through increased patient survival—the longer your patients live, the more frequently they will be back for routine care. Clients also will feel more bonded to your practice when their pet is well cared for, giving them reason to return with other pets or future pet generations.
Another way you can use cardiologist consults to improve your revenue is to consider offering complete diagnostic services in-house. Traveling ultrasound technicians or veterinarians can complete an ultrasound examination in a few short minutes, allowing several patients to be seen during the technician’s scheduled visit day. Alternatively, you may consider sending one of your technicians to an ultrasound training program, providing them with a fulfilling career opportunity while expanding hospital services. Once the ultrasound is complete, you can send the results to our consulting cardiologist for review, creating an entirely new revenue stream in the hospital.
#4: Improve client relationships
Clients trust their veterinarians and appreciate referrals in nearly all situations. A willingness to offer a referral or in-house specialist consultation shows you care about your patients’ welfare more than anything, and clients are more likely to follow your recommendations. Clients also appreciate being offered cost-effective pet health solutions, including remote consultation.
#5: Handle more cardio cases in-house
Heart conditions in pets are generally progressive. Most cases are easy to manage in the beginning but may worsen over time. While you might normally send these patients to a cardiologist for treatment, consulting with one virtually is a faster and easier way to provide needed care. Clients won’t have to wait precious days or weeks for an appointment and watch their pet’s health decline. Instead, they can receive care right away under the guidance of their familiar family veterinarian.
How VESPECON works
Our VESPECON cardiologists are ready to consult when you need them. We use a virtual video chat platform so you have expert care at your fingertips. Our video format offers a more intimate, personal experience and allows the consulting specialist to see what you see in real-time and provide better advice than would be possible by phone. The more you consult with us, the better you’ll become at handling your complex cases in-house. We are a small but mighty team, so you can build a relationship with the same faces and voices across multiple cases, and we’re always available for as many follow-up consults as needed.
VESPECON is here to make life easier for general veterinary practitioners and elevate their patient care while helping them keep more of their cardiology and other specialty-level cases in-house. Contact us to learn more about our services, or sign up to start consulting with our team.