ALL veterinary practitioners will undoubtedly, from time to time, be faced with having to discuss a diagnosis with a client that may potentially cause embarrassment or offence. Some pet owners may be upset by the very idea that their pet could be suffering from, say, fleas, mange, maggots or obesity, with possible connotations of dirtiness or laxness on their part. Here, Cathy Jackson, a GP and lecturer in consultation skills, offers advice on maintaining a professional manner in tricky consultations, without upsetting or alienating clients. In the box on page 220, Carol Gray, a veterinary surgeon and lecturer in communication skills, describes some other situations that may arise in practice that need handling in a sensitive and non-judgemental way.
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