Earlier this year, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) forecast high heartworm disease levels in 2017 for most of the country, especially in the Western United States, as reported on the Pets and Parasites website. CAPC also predicted that heartworm disease “will continue to increase even farther beyond its endemic range in 2017.”
What about Lyme disease? Very similar news. The forecast report noted, “Nationwide, Lyme disease continues to expand beyond established endemic boundaries. Pet owners living or traveling to areas endemic for Lyme disease (Northeastern and Central Midwestern US), or those areas on the edges of Lyme disease endemic areas (The Dakotas, Iowa, Missouri, Southern Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina) should talk to their veterinarian about testing and protecting their dogs against this disease that is a threat to both animals and their owners.”
Now the question is, how can you – the Distribution Sales Representative — help practices prepare for conversations about parasites… so more patients are protected?
It’s all about the updated CAPC maps and the exciting new tools on the recently re-launched CAPC website.
We asked Rick Marrinson, DVM, a practitioner at Longwood Veterinary Clinic in Longwood, Florida, and a member of the CAPC board for many years, to shed light on the new website’s features so you can bring practices up to speed on its valuable local information.
Dr. Marrinson has been the CAPC Forecast satellite media tour spokesperson this year presenting, “How to Use the CAPC Data” to packed crowds at both the NAVC Conference and AAHA Nashville 2017.
He told us, “The big news is that the CAPC website went through a major overhaul to expand on its prevalence data and other tools related to canine and feline heartworm, tick-borne diseases, intestinal parasites and others. There’s much more on the site now, with better graphics and more robust data that’s easy to share. Plus, the site is now mobile-responsive, so you can view the data anywhere on iOS and Android devices (laptops, tablets and phones).”
The primary benefits of the updated CAPC website include the following (with several reflected in this image):
- Updates are automatically sent to practices for staff and client education
On every map page, you’ll see a little green section on the lower right corner prompting a visitor to Get Updates. When a practice signs up for these updates, they receive new data at least once a month for their U.S. county or Canadian province. And, when CAPC sends that data to the practice, it includes an automatic push to the clinic’s Facebook page. Dr. Marrinson noted, “This is extremely helpful for client education because clients may suddenly see in their Facebook feed, “2 new cases of heartworm were just reported in Seminole County, FL (for example). This gives the practice a chance to comment on this information and ask clients about their prevention efforts. This means the client-communication process has gotten easier. There’s no extra work for the practice.”
- You can compare historical data
Now the website offers a historical feature to go back as far as 2012 and see state and county prevalence growth from year to year. You can also compare seasons by looking at spring months over the years, for example. There are several ways to compare the data for your needs. Also, it’s important to note that the data is from test results provided by Antech and IDEXX labs only, not in-house screening tests, so the prevalence rates shown in these maps are lower than the real numbers. Dr. Marrinson is hopeful that in-clinic test results can be included at some point.
- The maps contain highly useful data for the U.S.… and now Canada, too!
Not only are the prevalence maps new, with additional historical data, we’re showing data from across the United States AND Canadian provinces. For U.S. states, CAPC offers information drilled down by county. For instance, in the example shown here, 543 Lyme disease cases have been reported in Monmouth County, New Jersey, out of 4,952 reported test results. That’s 10.97% or just over 1 in 10 dogs testing positive for Lyme. If you wish to look at prevalence in Canada, simply click “Switch to Canada” at the top-right corner of the map.
- Content can be personalized by the practice
If the practice is creating articles and blog posts on their website or even the local media, they can take the latest data and personalize it, adding tips, screening offers, prevention guidance, and more… bringing clients back into the practice. Dr. Marrinson added that,” CAPC is constantly reviewing analytics to see which topics might help the most with client education.”
- Clinics can access CAPC’s Parasite Guidelines for their team’s best practices
The guidelines — and the information contained within them — are searchable alphabetically by the name of the parasite: by common name and scientific name. Each Guideline page is a complete care guide with the following information categories: Synopsis, Life Cycle and Stages, Disease Prevalence, Host Associations and Transmission Between Hosts, Prepatent Period and Environmental Factors, Site of Infection and Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, Radiography, Control and Prevention, Treatment, Public Health Considerations, and Selected References. This is where you and your customers can find a comprehensive list of today’s products related to each parasite or disease.
You can see that this truly is a major update with many benefits for the practices in your region.
Here’s how to use this information with practices during your sales calls, as recommended by Dr. Marrinson:
“You’d be surprised at the number of practices that don’t know about the CAPC website or its maps. This is understandable knowing how busy clinics are these days.
Therefore, we’re encouraging DSRs to start the conversation about parasites with this question, ‘What’s your strategy for discussing parasites with clients, and getting them to use preventatives?’
- During sales calls, you can simply sit down at any computer and walk through the new website. Show them how easy it is to look up the prevalence statistics in their state and region, and how easy it is to communicate the latest data to clients.
- It’s very important to emphasize that these results are lab test results. We don’t get all the pet-side tests. We project that the data we get probably represents about 30% of real test results.
So, if you’re sitting with a practice and seeing that 18% or 1 of every 6 dogs in a certain county are testing positive… that’s only the tests sent out to labs. The practice can and should expect the real prevalence to be much higher, and they should be looking at their monthly in-clinic test results to see what’s happening with their own patients. That’s why we send out this info on a percentage basis. If a doctor is scientifically, statistically tuned in, you can show her the section, Learn About The Map Data located at the bottom of each map.
Finally, if you’re looking at a county that shows ‘No results” — it means the practices in that county use in-house testing; no outside labs. So then, take a look at surrounding counties, where you may see significant prevalence. It’s a strong indicator.
- Let the practice know how much this information can matter when discussing disease prevention. As a practitioner, I know the data does make an impact. It’s very ‘show-and-tell, with neat graphics, in a simple to understand format. I don’t have to educate clients on the life cycle of the tick. Just look at these cases in our county — we need to talk about vaccination!”
Which products should you recommend to your customers for prevention and screening? Dr. Marrinson quoted an often-heard adage, “The best product to give is the one your clients will use the most!”
Let us know, in the comments below, if you’ve used the CAPC maps during your sales calls… or if this has inspired you to start using them.