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Jennolf, Ebba, 2021. Small animal veterinarians’ communication with pet owners from av Motivational Interviewing (MI) perspective. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Clinical Sciences



Communication is a significant part of the veterinary profession. A veterinarian does not only need
the skills to make the correct diagnosis, but also to communicate effectively for the treatment to be
successful. In many cases, treatment plans require the pet owner to change their behavior, which
places demands on veterinarians’ ability to motivate clients to behavior change.
Veterinarians commonly adopt a paternalistic communication style which may be ineffective and
even increase resistance to change in ambivalent clients. In contrast to paternalism, Motivational
Interviewing (MI) is an evidence-based collaboration centered counseling style aiming to strengthen
a person’s inner motivation and commitment to change.
This study aimed to investigate the extent to which, and in what way, Swedish small animal
veterinarians, without previous training or knowledge of the method, spontaneously use MI in their
communication with dog owners regarding dental home care in dogs.
Audi-recorded role-play calls between eight veterinarians and a professional actor were coded by
MIC Lab AB using Motivational Interviewing Treatment Integrity 4.2.1 (MITI 4.2.1), a behavioral
coding system developed to evaluate MI-skills. During the conversations, the actor played an owner
of a dog diagnosed with periodontitis. The veterinarians’ task was to motivate the dog owner to start
brushing his dog’s teeth daily.
From the coding protocols, global scores of four variables on a five-point scale, and behavior counts
of ten verbal behaviors were obtained. The results were presented as mean ± standard deviation. The
veterinarians’ consultation approaches were predominantly characterized by Giving information,
Persuasion, and Questions. In general, the veterinarians made few attempts to involve or affirm the
dog owner, and none emphasized the dog owner’s autonomy. The veterinarians had the majority of
the speaking time and dominated the conversations, while the dog owner had a more passive role.
The results of the present study indicate that Swedish small animal veterinarians spontaneously use
MI to a very small extent in consultations with dog owners regarding dental home care for dogs.
Based on the results and the previous research that has shown MI to be an effective way to help
people change their behavior, there are many reasons to consider implementing MI in veterinary

Main title:Small animal veterinarians’ communication with pet owners from av Motivational Interviewing (MI) perspective
Authors:Jennolf, Ebba
Supervisor:Enlund, Karolina and Pettersson, Ann
Examiner:Svensson, Catarina
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2021
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:VY002 Veterinary Medicine Programme 330 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Clinical Sciences
Keywords:motivation, dog owner, pet owner, advisor-client, dental home care, tooth brushing
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Veterinary science and hygiene - General aspects
Animal diseases
Deposited On:11 Mar 2021 07:39
Metadata Last Modified:27 Jan 2022 00:15

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