TUESDAYSeptember 20, 2022

Dear Veterinary Student, 

Whether you have considered practice ownership or plan to enter the profession as an associate, veterinary business education has never been more crucial to your career. This weekly publication is designed to supplement your education by providing information on veterinary business including ownership and management, finance operations, communication, team building and emerging technologies that will shape the future of veterinary medicine. 

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How employee ownership can keep practices in the hands of veterinarians 
As veterinarians retire, they have to consider how to sell their practices. Employee ownership is one option to consider, Corey Rosen writes in dvm360. 

Rosen, who started the National Center for Employee Ownership, highlights two companies that have found this model promising, especially as a way to combat an outsize presence of private equity in the profession. 

1st Pet Veterinary Centers, an Arizona-based network of hospitals, and Galaxy Vets, a new veterinary hospital network, have created employee ownership structures using employee stock ownership plans, or ESOPs, a sort of retirement plan. Rosen describes the unique ways they’re doing so and how they could serve as examples for other practices considering employee ownership. 

> Read more of this article here. 

Also: Dr. Randy Spencer, the former owner of 1st Pet, wrote in Today’s Veterinary Business about his experience selling the practice and implementing an ESOP. The article also provides a more detailed overview of how ESOPs work. Read it here. 

And Forbes spoke with Dr. Ivan Zak, founder of Galaxy Vets, about how that company is approaching employee ownership. Zak says this model is key to the company’s employee burnout prevention strategy. Read the article here. 

Why U.K.-based Pennard Vets decided on employee ownership 
A U.K. veterinary practice last year became one of the few in the country operating under an employee ownership model. Pennard Vets created an employee ownership trust, making its 90 employees across six sites shareholders in the business taking in profits. 
According to an article in Vet Times, the employee ownership trust ensured Pennard could remain independent, a top priority for the owners at the time. 

“We have had some lovely offers from corporates to sell, and we had to make that decision and be true to our values,” said Matt Flann, one of the directors who elected to implement the employee ownership model. Flann and the other two directors continued to work for Pennard, but the trust now has a full say in its future. 

Vet Times describes how the setup works and why Pennard Vets viewed it as the best road to take. 

> Read more of this article here.

The Vet Watch Weekly Insight Report 
For the week ending September 10, year-to-date revenue was up 4.8% over the same period last year at veterinary practices across the country, according to the latest Vet Watch Weekly Insight Report. 

The report is compiled by Animalytix, whose VetWatch platform each week provides metrics on practice revenue and purchasing trends for thousands of practices across the country. These are included in the Veterinary Student Insider’s partner publication, the Fountain Report. 

According to the latest data, for the month of August, year-to-date purchases by veterinary practices of canine and feline vaccines were up 2.2% over the same period last year. Parasiticide purchases were also up, while purchases of surgical suite consumables, chronic care products and kennel cough vaccines were all down. 

> Read more of this article here.

VHMA awards CVPM credential to 27 practice managers 
Twenty-seven veterinary management professionals recently earned the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association’s Certified Veterinary Practice Manager credential. 

Before sitting for the CVPM exam, applicants are required to meet practice management experience requirements and demonstrate they’ve earned sufficient formal education and continuing education credits. The exam tests management knowledge in human resources, law and ethics, marketing, practice organization and finance. 

The full list of newly certified practice managers is in the announcement from the VHMA. 

> Read more of this article here.

The pandemic has led to a drop in spay-neuter surgeries, study finds 
The pandemic has led to a decline in spay-neuter surgeries, putting at risk decades-long progress controlling overpopulation of dogs and cats, researchers at the University of Florida have found. 

The decline was spurred by lockdowns at the start of the pandemic, followed by staffing shortages in clinics and shelters, overcrowding and lagging pet adoption rates. These problems are exacerbated by a nationwide shortage of veterinarians that’s been felt even more acutely in shelters and spay-neuter clinics, the researchers say in a study published in Frontiers of Veterinary Science. 

Using 2019 as a baseline, they looked at a set of 212 spay-neuter clinics across the country and found they performed 190,818 fewer surgeries than would have been expected between January 2020 and December 2021. 

“If a similar pattern was experienced by other spay-neuter programs in the United States, it would suggest there is a deficit of more than 2.7 million spay-neuter surgeries that animal welfare organizations have yet to address,” said Dr. Julie Levy, a study co-author. 

> Read more of this article here.

Low salaries, high debt make rural practice less appealing for veterinarians 
Rural veterinary clinics have been declining for decades, with large-animal practices accounting for less than 2% of U.S. private practices as of 2020 and mixed-animal clinics accounting for less than 6%, according to the AVMA. 

Low salaries are a big factor in turning away new graduates from these positions, according to Dr. Daniel Grooms, dean of Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He found in research that low wages for rural veterinarians compared to doctors in more populated areas, along with long hours and lack of mentorship opportunities, contributed to Iowa’s shortage of rural veterinarians. 

Debt is a major consideration for new graduates, but the amount of federal loan forgiveness funding available for rural veterinarians is limited and the application process is daunting, KCUR reports. 

Commentary from Terry Sheehan: This article sums up the need for the myriad of tuition repayment plans for rural veterinarians being enacted by state and provincial governments in the United States and Canada. These incentive programs are vital to increasing the number of rural veterinarians. 

> Read more of this article here.


Breanna Demaline, managing editor of the Veterinary Student Insider, is a fourth-year veterinary student at Michigan State University. Originally from Wauseon, Ohio, she is deeply passionate about veterinary practice ownership, culture, communication and team-building. She’s served on the executive board of the Veterinary Business Management Association for four years at both a local and national level.

Terry Sheehan, who offers commentary for Antelligence publications including the Veterinary Student Insider, is currently the CEO of Aniconsilia LLC, an animal health industry consulting firm he founded in 2009. Prior to the founding of Aniconsilia, Terry had a more than 30-year career in the animal health industry with a strong record of achievement in sales, marketing and commercial operations.
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