Does every horse that you see undergo a dental exam? Is a complete oral exam including the use of sedation, a full-mouth speculum, a good headlight and a dental mirror part of your yearly preventative maintenance program? Do you include a complete oral exam as a part of all your pre-purchase exams? If you answered "Yes" to these questions, then you are, unfortunately, in the minority of equine practitioners today.
Using a laparoscopic technique to perform ovariohysterectomy, cryptorchidectomy, and exploratory laparotomy with abdominal biopsy, and using thoracoscopy to perform thoracic exploratory means less pain and quicker recovery time for patients. And for Dr. Rex Bailey, owner of Michigan City Animal Hospital in Michigan City, Ind., laparoscopic services mean better pet care, happier clients, more rewarding work for himself, and good news for his business.
Dr. Brad Rosonke, owner of Hillside Animal Hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz., has little interest in dentistry. But he knows that offering dental services means better care for his patients. His solution: Hire a dental resident--in his case, Dr. Peter Bates--to visit his practice on a regular basis.
"This is a win-win-win situation," says Dr. Rosonke. "Dr. Bates needs to see more patients during his residency, I'm now free to see other patients while he's taking care of dental issues, and our clients get more complete care for their pets."
Neel Veterinary Hospital in Oklahoma City, a paperless practice that purchased its first computer and electronic medical record system in 1993, prides itself on its commitment to using the latest technology. “Adding computer radiography was a natural step in the evolution of our practice,” says co-owner Dr. Tina Neel.
With the help of a patient-care coordinator, Veterinary Medical Clinic in Tampa, Fla., is seeing double-digit growth for the first time in years--and patients are enjoying even healthier lives, says practice owner Dr. Eddie Garcia. "The patient wins because it gets a better follow-up on what the doctor recommends and a better quality of life, and the client gets to enjoy the pet longer. The clinic wins because we're providing the service and making the income," he says.
Not long ago in a Midwestern town, the owner of Wylie Animal Hospital, a two-doctor practice, called our office for help. The caller, Dr. Rudy Wylie (a composite character based on real practitioners), was an established practitioner whose companion animal practice had always been able to pay its bills, give staff members an annual raise, and maintain its client base.
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 their new book, Trading Up: The New American Luxury (Portfolio, 2003), Michael Silverstein and Neil Fiske found that today's consumer is willing to spend more, or trade up, for goods and services with higher perceived quality levels.