When I started work here in 2006, veterinarians were arguing over the impact that online pharmacies and big-box retailers
would have on their revenue. Generic drugs for $4, retail loss leaders on preventives, and Internet shopping had everyone
wondering if a sizable chunk of any practitioner's revenue should still be vaccines, flea and tick preventives, and drugs
that compete with generics.
I know there are veterinarians out there who can sell popsicles for puppies to Alaskans, whose loyal clients are happy to
buy everything from their practice. But most veterinarians, I suspect, serve a more cost-conscious pet owner. And the gradual
shift to services away from pharmaceutical retail has kept their doors' swinging, bank accounts in the black, and team members'
paychecks coming every two weeks.
Pet owners today want the best of both worlds when it comes to veterinary practice: They want to be able to take your recommendations
and prescriptions and shop for a lower price somewhere else. And other times, they want to fill a prescription or buy a product
right then from you.
For many veterinarians, the solution has been to develop their own Internet pharmacy or work with a company to do so. Internet-savvy
doctors don't have to carry every product in the back room, exam room, or retail nook. That's the advice of Denise Tumblin,
CPA in this issue. She says your online pharmacy will let you keep client purchases by giving clients what they want: 24/7
online shopping. Too many choices in recommendations can be a bad thing, but can you ever offer too many ways for clients
to purchase products or pay for services?
And because Denise Tumblin could very well have you rethinking your practice inventory and pharmacy options, why not also
dig into your client reminder system and practice software in this issue? Reminders are a criminally underused way of getting
clients in for needed wellness visits, checkups, and flea, tick, and heartworm preventive maintenance. Your software can help.
But maybe you're really old- school. Maybe you think all the magic happens in the exam room. Well, our 2012 article contest
winner, Dr. Jeremy Keen, has you covered. Go answer his eight questions in this issue. Make sure you're saying "yes" to every
one, as his client communication tips represent simple yet oft-forgotten ways to improve compliance, bond with patient and
client, and make sure you're using the most important tool in your practice: your medical training and your communication
And, since it's Thanksgiving this month, I'd like to give thanks to you—our readers, our online users, our writers, and our
innovative sources—who share ideas and insight with us every day. You help make veterinary medicine a rewarding and financially
viable profession with your medical and business know-how. We couldn't do it without you.
Brendan Howard, Editor