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Survey of communication challenges that impact relationships between veterinarians and dog or cat breeders and proposed solutions for retaining breeders as clients

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  • 1 From the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Arizona, Oro Valley, AZ 85737.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To characterize communication challenges between veterinarians and dog or cat breeders and elicit their perspectives on how professional relationships between the two might be improved.

SAMPLE

793 dog breeders, 540 cat breeders, and 514 veterinarians.

PROCEDURES

Veterinarians, cat breeders, and dog breeders were recruited through social media and electronic newsletters from breed registries to complete online surveys about their professional interactions with one another and proposed strategies for improving dialogue. Data used for the study were gathered as categorical or free-text responses.

RESULTS

Dog breeders commented that an apparent lack of training in theriogenology among veterinarians was a primary concern. Both dog breeders and cat breeders felt sidelined from patient care when veterinarians were dismissive, made assumptions about their character or motivation for breeding, or expressed disapproval of mating companion animals for profit. Breeders also wanted veterinarians to learn more about reproductive health and disease. Veterinarians expressed disinterest in working with breeders who seemed arrogant, argumentative, or inflexible. Financial constraints and breeders' apparent tendencies to trust anecdotal reports over evidence-based medicine contributed to veterinarians' biases about breeders and presented additional challenges. Each group proposed that communication challenges could be overcome through mutual engagement in active listening, eliciting perspective, assessing knowledge, offering partnership, and withholding judgment.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested that veterinarians and dog and cat breeders are more alike than dissimilar in terms of communication preferences that facilitate a positive veterinarian-breeder relationship. Understanding how to improve interactions is an important step toward dialogue that facilitates patient care.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Table S1 (PDF 172 KB)
    • Supplementary Table S2 (PDF 165 KB)
    • Supplementary Table S3 (PDF 157 KB)
    • Supplementary Table S4 (PDF 174 KB)
    • Supplementary Table S5 (PDF 169 KB)
    • Supplementary Table S6 (PDF 148 KB)

Contributor Notes

Ms. Schettler's present address is the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

Ms. Ostrom's present address is the Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66502.

Address correspondence to Dr. Englar (renglar@arizona.edu).