TUESDAYNovember 8, 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.

New to the Veterinary Student Insider? Click here to sign up for free. And if you like what you read here, share it with your peers!


Cornell launches Certificate in Veterinary Business and Management 
The Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine has launched a Certificate in Veterinary Business and Management for students to pursue advanced training in business and management. The program consists of eight elective courses in six focus areas: financial literacy, professional development, financial management, organizational management, personal development and entrepreneurship. After meeting those requirements, eligible students will complete a capstone experience to apply their business and management knowledge to a real-world veterinary project. 

Read more about the new program here.

Comments from Veterinary Student Insider managing editor Breanna Demaline: 
This new certificate program brings excitement and wonder when considering the impact it and similar initiatives may have on veterinary business long-term. The University of Florida for years has successfully implemented a similar program with a certificate opportunity. 

The Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA), a national student-led program for which I serve on the executive board, each year graduates hundreds of members who earn a business certificate. With the importance of veterinary business and management skills becoming more apparent, there has been a parallel increase of opportunities to buy in, partner and acquire veterinary practices worldwide. 

This past weekend, the VBMA and the Independent Veterinary Practitioners Association (IVPA) teamed up to connect current veterinary practice owners with students interested in pursuing practice ownership. During the roundtable event, many practitioners stated that they were filled with hope as they networked with students, sharing stories, experiences and ideas. Participating practice owners shared they had been battling feeling as though veterinary students were no longer interested in ownership and were thankful for the spark this event gave them. 

With more universities like Cornell supporting education about veterinary business and management, increased interest in practice ownership may be on the horizon. As a fourth-year veterinary student planning to join the community of independent practice owners after graduation, I am hopeful for this. 

3 critical factors that influence the selection of a veterinary practice location  

Several factors come into play when choosing where to locate a veterinary practice, including local demographics, staff needs and potential for the practice to grow. 

Daniel Eisenstadt, founder and CEO of Terravet Real Estate Solutions, explained in last week’s Fountain Report what practice owners need to think about when they’re deciding on a location. 

Local housing costs and ease of commute are key for practice owners to consider as they seek a location that’s accessible for their team. The facility also needs to offer a great place to work, including perks for staff like a sufficient break area and enough exam rooms to streamline patient flow. 

Practice owners also need to make sure they have enough room for growth—for example, if you think you might want a boarding area in your clinic one day. Owners should try to avoid locations with strict zoning restrictions so they can expand easily, Eisenstadt notes. 

“As the veterinary sector expands, veterinary real estate owners and operators must evolve to keep up with new expectations from younger generations,” he writes. “As such, careful consideration of the location of a practice will continue to be critical to ensure future success.” 

> Read the full column here.

Short on staff, some veterinary emergency rooms are closing and cutting hours  

Emergency veterinary care facilities in Seattle are short on staff, leading some to close or cut their hours, a veterinary technician told KIRO 7. 

The technician, Rae Thompson, noted staffing was a problem even before the pandemic. “Our clinic often has six- to seven-hour wait times,” she said. Thompson recommended pet owners keep a first aid kit in their home and possibly get trained in pet first aid. 

Beth Guerra and Laurie Wieringa, who started Arrow Animal Urgent Care, recommended pet owners make necessary veterinary appointments even if they can’t get into the clinic right away; they can visit urgent care in the meantime if the issue becomes pressing before the appointment. They also noted new pet owners should establish relationships with veterinarians as soon as possible, since many clinics aren’t taking on new clients. 

> Read the article here. 

Spectrum of care should be ‘the standard way to practice,’ veterinarian says    
Pet owners can’t always afford the “gold standard” of care for their pet. But veterinarians can practice a spectrum of care approach to ensure that even if the most extensive care option isn’t possible, the owner can still do something, Dr. Kate Boatright writes for the American Animal Hospital Association. 

“When practicing a spectrum of care, it is essential that we recognize that a client who chooses a more conservative option does not love their pet any less than the one who chooses the gold standard,” Boatright says. 

She notes that students aren’t often exposed to this concept in veterinary school, and even established veterinary teams can unintentionally create a judgmental atmosphere when pet owners choose what has traditionally been considered “substandard care.” 

“As a profession, we must make spectrum of care the standard way to practice so we can help the greatest number of pets and pet families,” she writes.  

> Read the article here.

Commentary from Terry Sheehan: An interesting read from Dr. Boatright recognizing that not all pet owners are equally equipped financially for the “gold standard” of veterinary care. Broad application of the spectrum of care will have an impact on veterinary care availability in the current environment of clinical staff shortages.

Texas duo brings veterinary care to clients’ homes, offering what they say is a much-needed service  
An East Texas couple has been providing in-home veterinary care for the past three years, bringing what they say is a valuable but little-offered service to their clients. 

“We realized there was a need for at-home care for pets,” Dr. Whitney Jordan Wilcox, who started No Place Like Home Vet Care in 2019 with her husband, told the Longview News-Journal. “Large animal mobile vets have existed for years, but none catered to small animals and exotics.” She added that it’s difficult for many clients to get to veterinary offices, whether because of a lack of transportation or time or their pet has anxiety at the clinic. 

The team mostly provides preventive care such as annual exams, vaccines and parasite testing and treatment. They offer mild illness treatment as well as end-of-life care for established clients. 

> Read the article here.

The Vet Watch Weekly Insight Report 
Year-to-date revenue during the week ending October 29 was up 5.1% at veterinary practices across the country, according to the latest Vet Watch™ Weekly Insight Report. 

Total invoices were down 2.4%, unique clients were down 2% and unique patients were down 1.9%. 

Month-to-date, revenue was up 0.1% from the same period last year. 

The full report is available from Animalytix. 

> Read the full VetWatch update here.
This week’s Veterinary Student Insider was compiled by managing editor Breanna Demaline and industry consultant Terry Sheehan. 

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