Objective—To compare opinions of referring veterinarians and perceptions of veterinary teaching hospital (VTH) veterinarians of those opinions regarding nutritional product recommendations made by VTH veterinarians.
Sample Population—VTH veterinarians from 10 US colleges of veterinary medicine and referring veterinarians within a 160-km (100-mile) radius of each of those colleges.
Procedures—Questions intended to assess the attitudes of VTH clinicians and referring veterinarians toward recommendations on nutritional products were designed by use of item statements with a 7-point Likert scale. Data were evaluated by use of crosstab analysis and Likert bipolar scaling to measure overall positive or negative responses to statements and to determine significant differences in responses to demographic and communication questions.
Results—Referring veterinarians returned 1,430 of 12,720 surveys, and VTH veterinarians returned 98 of 690 surveys (response rate, 11.2% and 14.2%, respectively). Significant communication gaps between general practitioners and board-certified veterinarians existed. The VTH veterinarians consistently reported providing written case summaries sooner than referring veterinarians reported receiving them. Referring veterinarians indicated that they expected and welcomed specific nutritional recommendations more than was perceived by VTH veterinarians.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—VTH veterinarians should not assume the attitudes of referring veterinarians, particularly with regard to specific nutritional recommendations. Failure to discuss specific nutritional recommendations may prevent effective consultation between veterinarians and also may directly affect clients who may experience delays in treatment for their pets. Procedural issues related to delivery and receipt of written case summaries should be investigated by VTH veterinarians and general practitioners.