"Our patient welfare is paramount to us and we want to provide a premium service for our clients."
What was your main anaesthetic protocol before you made the move to Alfaxan®?
Our routine premedication protocol consists of a combination of methadone or buprenorphine along with acepromazine. We induced patients with propofol before maintaining anaesthesia with isoflurane and oxygen.
How did you hear about Alfaxan® and what were your initial thoughts about using the product?
I was aware that within the industry Alfaxan® was becoming recognised as an alternative induction agent and I subsequently learnt more via representatives of Jurox. Anaesthesia is a vital part of any operative procedure and the safety of our patients is paramount. Therefore, although I was apprehensive about changing from our existing regime, I wanted to move towards an anaesthetic induction agent that demonstrated less cardiovascular and respiratory depressive effects.
What helped you to make the decision to use more Alfaxan®?
From a theoretical perspective the reduced effects noted on the cardiovascular and respiratory system impressed me. However, from a practical element, the nurses witnessed no reaction on intravenous administration, a consistently smoother induction, less apnoea along with an uneventful recovery. I also received extremely positive feedback from the nurses about the anaesthetic monitoring aspect as well as their perception of the patient’s anaesthetic experience.
Did you start using Alfaxan® first line immediately or did you use in specific cases first?
We used Alfaxan® as part of our anaesthetic regime for some routine procedures in the first instance, which allowed us to make some subjective comparisons.
Do you use any other induction agents and, if so, in which cases?
Until we converted to Alfaxan®, we routinely used propofol for all cases. However, we now exclusively use Alfaxan® as our primary induction agent, including diagnostic evaluation of laryngeal paralysis.
Alfaxan® costs more than propofol – why is this not a problem for you?
Our patient welfare is paramount to us and we want to provide a premium service for our clients. For this reason, we are not concerned about the slight cost differential and from a commercial perspective we have priced the cost in to our anaesthetic charging structure
How do you justify using a premium induction agent in price sensitive procedures?
Routine procedures, such as neuterings, have always been considered as a ‘loss leader’ within the industry. Historically, the cost associated with the procedures has been kept low to maintain a competitive edge and to continue to bond the client to the practice. However, we want to ensure consistency, always following our belief that we are providing a premium, gold standard service for our clients. For these reasons, we maintain the same protocol regardless of the procedure and are not prepared to cut corners when it comes to anaesthesia.
How do you think your patients benefit from being induced by Alfaxan®?
Additional benefits include a lack of reaction on intravenous administration, a consistently smoother induction, less apnoea along with an uneventful recovery.
How do you think your staff benefit from using Alfaxan® as an induction agent?
The nurses commented that they felt more confident using Alfaxan® as part of the anaesthetic protocol and felt more at ease nursing patients post procedure due to the smoother recovery often witnessed.
What advice would you give other practices considering using Alfaxan® for the first time?
Contact Jurox and ask for a representative to explain the benefits of using Alfaxan® as well any further technical information required before making an informed decision. Their team are friendly, approachable and would be more than happy to visit the practice and make a presentation discussing Alfaxan® in greater detail. There would be no obligation after this to commit to using Alfaxan® but their support and guidance are invaluable during the early stages of transition. We had a pretty seamless transition but any minor queries were always handled promptly and efficiently.
What advice would you give to practice owners concerned about the cost difference?
From a commercial point of view it’s important to adjust the anaesthetic fees to align with the differential in cost. However, we want to provide a premium service and therefore do not consider the additional cost as a factor in our decision making process. Clients always want a safe and smooth anaesthetic for their pet and have not once queried the slight increase in anaesthetic fees.
What challenges did you face when changing your induction agent and how did you overcome them?
Jurox were fantastic, ensuring the transition was smooth and made multiple visits to the clinic, which helped us enormously. The training was very important so that our expectations were met and were able to deal with any challenges that presented.
What pricing adjustments did you make? has this had a negative effect on turnover or client satisfaction?
We found this very straightforward. As veterinary surgeons and business owners, we can sometimes get weighed down by the figures and automatically see something that is a little more expensive as a barrier to use. We need to sit on the other side of the fence and ask ourselves what our clients would prefer us to use and would they be worried about paying a little extra on the cost of the anaesthetic for our recommended anaesthetic agent. We simply factor in the extra cost of the Alfaxan® to our standard anaesthetic fee so we aren’t losing out. We have had no comments from pet owners and if we had any questions we can easily justify our approach.
In what other ways have Jurox supported your practice?
Jurox have remained extremely supportive and approachable. We recently purchased 2 capnography anaesthetic monitoring machines and they helped us with the decision making process as well as visiting the practice to train the nurses to use the machines appropriately. They are open to new ideas regarding training and remain our favourite company to work with when it comes to all things anaesthesia!