By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
Here’s something you don’t see every day: free heart health examinations for dogs provided by veterinarians and veterinary cardiologists. Pet lovers love the idea. And you might have seen the special mobile exam room at a park, community center or animal shelter, as part of a local special event in locations throughout the country.
The portable examination room is sponsored by pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., which also helps with local publicity for the event as well as raising pet owner awareness of heart disease in dogs through their website.
It seems the Mobile Dog Heart Health Tour has been on the move since early 2009, and veterinarians have checked the hearts of more than 5,000 dogs around the country, finding previously undetected heart murmur in about 20 percent of them. Participating veterinarians help educate owners about heart disease. (It’s nearly as prevalent in dogs as it is in humans.)
The animal screenings are typically part of a local event such as the recent Barktoberfest in Austin, TX. It’s a good illustration of a veterinary marketing opportunity that involves dog lovers and the community. Barktoberfest—the 8th annual, this year—is also a 3K pledge walk for homeless pets, and hosted by the Central Texas SPCA, with proceeds benefiting their adoption program.
From a marketing perspective, this is a heart-warming veterinary marketing opportunity. And from a pet owner’s perspective, dogs with the disease live nearly twice as long when diagnosed and treated during the early stages of heart failure.
Seems like a good idea to us all around. What do you think? We welcome your comments.