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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To investigate the preparedness of small animal veterinary personnel to communicate with Spanish-speaking pet owners with limited English-language proficiency (LEP).

DESIGN

Cross-sectional telephone survey.

SAMPLE

Data from 383 small animal veterinary practices.

PROCEDURES

Telephone surveys were conducted with veterinarians and office or practice managers from a random sample of US small animal veterinary practices in 10 states to estimate the number of Spanish-speaking pet owners with LEP visiting these practices, proportion of practices that used services to facilitate communication with Spanish-speaking clients with LEP, and degree of veterinarian satisfaction with their communication with those clients.

RESULTS

Responses were obtained from 383 of 1,245 (31%) eligible practices, of which 340 (89%) had Spanish-speaking clients with LEP and 200 (52%) had such clients on a weekly basis. Eight percent of practices had veterinary personnel who were conversant or fluent in spoken Spanish. Veterinarians who depended on clients' friends or family to translate were significantly less satisfied with client communication than were those who could converse in Spanish with clients directly. Availability of Spanish-speaking staff and offering of Spanish-language resources were associated with an increase in the number of Spanish-speaking clients with LEP seen on a weekly basis. Industry- and practice-generated Spanish-language materials were offered at 32% (124/383) and 21% (81/383) of practices, respectively; 329 (86%) practices had no Spanish-language marketing.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Opportunities were identified for improving communication with pet owners with LEP in the veterinary clinical setting, which could ultimately positively impact patient well-being and client compliance.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To characterize patterns of dog and cat ownership and veterinary service use among Latino dog and cat owners with various degrees of English-language proficiency.

DESIGN

Cross-sectional telephone survey.

SAMPLE

Data from 393 Latino pet owners.

PROCEDURES

Telephone surveys were conducted with Latino dog and cat owners from a random sample of US households to determine the number of dogs and cats owned, factors associated with veterinary service use, and satisfaction with veterinary care.

RESULTS

393 of 1,026 (38.3%) respondents were pet owners. Two hundred fifty-nine of 330 (78.5%) dog owners and 70 of 115 (60.9%) cat owners reported taking their pet to the veterinarian in the past 12 months, most commonly for vaccination or examination or because of illness. Respondents were most satisfied with veterinary care provided, least satisfied with cost, and moderately satisfied with quality of communication. English-language proficiency was not significantly associated with whether owners sought veterinary care. A large proportion of respondents who wanted to receive pet health information in Spanish described themselves as speaking English well or very well.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Although having limited proficiency in English was not associated with Latino pet owners seeking veterinary care, opportunities exist for veterinary personnel to improve communications with these clients. Personnel can assess their clients' language needs by asking each about the language in which they would prefer to receive their pet's health information.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association