Communication Veterinarian - Owner

Challenges in veterinary communication: dealing with complementary and alternative veterinary medicine

The research into veterinary-client communication focuses on the challenges that veterinarians face in practice. The multidisciplinary research group in the field of veterinary communication is led by prof. Decloedt, who has an emerging scientific reputation in this field and a firm track record in clinical research. Veterinary communication is an emerging and rapidly expanding scientific discipline. Prof. Decloedt is the secretary and co-founder of the veterinary communication Special Interest Group (EACH), which ensures international dissemination of the evidence-based strategies and training approaches for veterinarian-client communication developed within this line of research.

A first project on veterinarian-client communication about complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM) was performed in collaboration with the Center for Persuasive Communication, department of Communication Sciences, Ghent University.  The PhD project was completed by Pia Keller in 2023: Read this publication

During the first part of this PhD project the attitude of Belgian horse owners towards CAVM and communication about CAVM with their veterinarians was investigated using an online survey. This was followed by interviews with horse owners for further exploration of their behavior regarding CAVM. Secondly the attitude of veterinarians towards the use of CAVM was investigated, including their experiences with CAVM and their communication with clients about it. With this study we aimed to identify the veterinarian factors influencing CAVM discussions. Finally the communication patterns of veterinarians and CAVM practitioners were analyzed and compared.

Ongoing research is focusing on veterinarian-client communication about antimicrobial usage (PhD student Zoë De Mol). The first aim is to identify the barriers and facilitators veterinarians face regarding a more judicious antimicrobial use in animals and how they experience the communication with the owner or farmer regarding antimicrobial resistance. The second aim is to evaluate the success factors of coaching farmers with high antimicrobial usage to a more rational antimicrobial usage. Our hypothesis is that an autonomy-supportive motivation style and communication adapted to the stage of change of the livestock farmer will lead to higher intrinsic motivation in the livestock farmer, resulting in reduced antibiotic use. The results of this project will be used to shape future interventions to reduce and improve antimicrobial usage in veterinary medicine. Finally, this project includes a pilot intervention to improve responsible antimicrobial use in companion animal veterinary practices.

Other research topics include communication in challenging situations in veterinary medicine such as pet euthanasia, equine euthanasia, pet obesity or the adoption of pets from abroad.

If you have questions about this research please contact Prof. Annelies Decloedt.