TUESDAYOctober 4, 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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With pet care affordability in mind, universities implement a ‘spectrum of care’ model 
By Breanna Demaline, Michigan State University Class of 2023, managing editor of the Veterinary Student Insider

Sometimes considered the hottest topic in veterinary medicine, affordability of care continues to be a growing challenge for doctors and clients alike. 

Recently, the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges received a $1.3 million grant from the Stanton Foundation to aid the AAVMC Spectrum of Care initiative. This funding is expected to support educational models that prepare new veterinary graduates to better assess and meet the needs of diverse clientele while still providing a high quality of care. 

In my experience, many current veterinary curriculums focus on teaching the gold standard of care. While working and externing at local practices, I have often seen the "realities" of veterinary medicine and the options veterinarians may be limited to. Three-view thoracic radiographs, urinalysis, complete blood counts and full chemistry panels may be the best standard of care in many cases, but it is not uncommon for patients to be limited to one or sometimes zero of these diagnostics due to pet owners’ financial restrictions. 

There is no denying that veterinary care is expensive. While we urge clients to take advantage of pet insurance and save for emergency care, this is not realistic for many families. My time in veterinary school will pass before the implementation of these new programs, but I am hopeful that the new AAVMC grant will support graduates in furthering their confidence and ability to provide affordable and high-quality veterinary care. 

The challenge of affordability and access to veterinary care has continued to spread awareness nationwide. This past weekend, the Michigan Community Street Clinic successfully completed its second annual clinic in Lansing. The event provided free veterinary care to pets whose owners are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Through donations from the community, the MCSC has continued to provide access to veterinary care to those who otherwise can’t afford it. 

Scratch Financial raises $35 million in Series C round 
Scratch Financial announced it has raised $35 million in a Series C funding round led by Norwest Venture Partners. Scratch was founded in 2016 with a “care now, pay later” product called Scratchpay to help pet owners pay for care. 

The company says it now partners with one in three veterinary practices across the United States and Canada to provide payment plans for clients. In 2020 it began partnering with human elective medical providers. The company says it will use the new funding for technology development. 

> Read more of this article here. 

West Virginia livestock veterinarian launches mobile clinic with USDA grant 
A West Virginia veterinarian has opened a mobile veterinary clinic to provide livestock care in the state. Dr. Breanna Brown received a USDA grant to launch the business, Lewis Mobile Veterinary Services, which will serve nine West Virginia counties. 

She’ll also host educational meetings during the three-year project for local producers. “I’m happy to be serving the state, and I think it’s going to offer a lot of veterinary care to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to get it,” she said.  

> Read more of this article here.

Zoetis announces U.S. commercial launch of Solensia to treat feline OA pain 
Zoetis this week announced Solensia (frunevetmab injection) is now available to veterinary practices across the United States. Solensia, administered as a monthly injection by a veterinarian, is the first and only FDA-approved monoclonal antibody treatment for the control of pain associated with feline osteoarthritis, according to Zoetis. The FDA approved the drug in January. 

Commentary from Terry Sheehan: Solensia is also approved in the European Union and has been available to veterinarians there since May 2021, with reportedly very good market acceptance. 

> Read more of this article here.

New initiative aims to promote diversity in the veterinary profession 
A new initiative seeks to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in the veterinary profession. Known as Journey for Teams, the program is being spearheaded by the AVMA in partnership with Veterinary Medical Association Executives. 

Journey for Teams builds upon an initiative launched by VMAE in 2021 to provide executive directors and elected leaders at veterinary medical associations tools and resources to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). The new initiative is designed for veterinary professionals in a variety of workplaces, including private practices, animal hospitals, academia and industry. 

Journey for Teams will release new learning modules monthly over the next two years. As part of the program, veterinary workplaces will be encouraged to include a commitment to DEI core principles and behaviors in their stated values. 

> Read more of this article here.

petNmind founder, the first Black franchisor in the pet industry, talks about opportunities and challenges for the business 
Yahoo spoke with Adrian Archie, founder and CEO of petNmind, a raw pet food, supply and service store. The flagship location opened in Coconut Creek, Florida, in 2016, and the first franchise location is set to open in Fort Lauderdale in November. 

According to Yahoo, Archie is the first Black franchisor in the $21 billion pet industry. “BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] customers and entrepreneurs are the largest opportunity for growth for the pet industry,” he said. “At the end of the day, it comes down to lack of exposure. BIPOC communities simply don’t have the same exposure to pets and animals.” 

As for transitioning from a single location to selling franchises, “the biggest burdens to the transition were money and access,” he said. “It’s an expensive proposition to franchise your business and market it to attract leads and build brand awareness.” 

> Read more of this article here.

The Vet Watch Weekly Insight Report 
For the week ending September 24, year-to-date revenue was up 5% 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. 

According to the data, total year-to-date veterinary practice invoices for the week ending September 24 were down 2.4% from last year. Unique clients and patients were also down. 

> 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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