After Veterinary Economics published "Caught in the Middle: Business vs. Compassion" in June 2004, we received several letters fueling the discussion. One in particular, from Dr. Lowell Novy of Valley Veterinary Clinic in Simi Valley, Calif., provided an interesting solution: Start a nonprofit organization to help cover costs.
In the past year, I've learned that a little laziness and a lot of assuming can cost big bucks. First it was our radiology badges—I assumed we all paid about the same price for this service. But when an astute colleague asked about the going rate in our area, I learned I was paying four times more than some of my colleagues!
Women now buy half of all practices sold in some parts of the country, and prospective women buyers are on the rapid rise nationwide. The Northeast, mid-Atlantic and the Southeast contain the largest concentration of female buyers, according to brokerage statistics, and national trends have begun to mirror the general doctor population, too.
Hospital tours are a great way to attract new clients and cement
your bond with existing ones. "We like to take the mystery away,"
says Dr. Lisa Barlow of Centennial Valley Animal Hospital PC in
Louisville, Colo. "We think hospital tours help clients feel better
about leaving their pets here."
The doctors at Bowman Animal Hospital and Cat Clinic, Inc. in Raleigh, N.C., see an average of four to five behavioral consultations per month, says Monica Dixon Perry, CVPM, the practice’s hospital administrator. Of these behavioral consults, the vast majority lead to diagnostic testing to determine whether there are any underlying medical reasons for the behavioral issue, says Audra Alley, DVM, CVA. "If a cat or a dog is urinating abnormally, we start with a urinalysis to determine whether there are any abnormalities. If the results of the urinalysis are positive, we treat the medical problems first and then re-evaluate the behavior," Dr. Alley says.
At Seaside Animal Care in Calabash, N.C., Dr. Ernest E. Ward Jr. knows that 20 percent of his canine patients will develop osteoarthritis at some point. To combat this statistic, Dr. Ward conducts a comprehensive senior arthritis program designed to lengthen the lives of his patients and improve their quality of life, strengthen the bond at his practice, and bolster his bottom line.
You can create a small, successful exotic ward with no more space than an unused storage room and boost the service you offer owners of exotic pets, says Dr. Jennifer Graham, Dipl. ABVP. "Clients are beginning to ask, 'Are the exotics kept separate from the other pets?' and 'What special treatment can you provide?' " Dr. Graham says. "Clients know these issues are important and will evaluate the practice on team members’ responses."