Today's Veterinary Business

JUN 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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30 Today's Veterinary Business Business After graduating from veter- inary school and entering a small animal practice as an associate, I recognized a change. One of the more common marketing ap- proaches was to offer a free exam with paid vaccinations. The focus of my four years in veterinary school, the full physical exam, had been demeaned to a free service so that vaccinations could be administered. And then it got even more challenging. Professional associ- ations had been running rabies clinics to provide affordable rabies vaccinations as a community ser- vice. Although this wasn't always accepted by the local veterinary community, it was good for public relations and was tolerated. Then it all changed: • Vans parked at shopping centers to provide vaccina- tions from the back door. • Feed stores sold pet vaccinations. • Big-box and small mom- and-pop stores hosted vaccination clinics. These clinics became an oppor- tunity for pet owners to wait in line for cursory exams and competitive- ly priced vaccinations. The clinics were held inside and outside, and on weekends and weekday nights. What did they offer? Conve- nience and competitive pricing, and the pet owners didn't have to pay for the "Do I really need it?" exam. From what I understood, to be able to give a vaccination you needed to establish a veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR). How did this meet those criteria? What about the medical recordkeeping regulations? Over the last few decades, the vaccination business has been com- moditized to the point that you can purchase virtually every vaccination from a source that isn't a veterinary hospital. The vaccination protocols have been reviewed, discussed, published and republished. What's a veterinarian to do? Why It Happens Convenience: In today's world of immediate gratification, Doctor When I was a teenager working in the veterinary field, the vast majority of visits were for vaccinations. People would readily pay $11 for a rabies or distemper shot in conjunction with an $11 office call. This was the mid-'70s and there weren't too many choices for pet owners to have their pet vaccinated. When parvovirus hit — boy, did it hit the Northeast — the vaccination was a difference maker. By Peter Weinstein , DVM, MBA Business VACCINATIONS Compete with low-cost vaccination clinics by doing what they do or by building a better client relationship.

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