Dentistry, behavior, nutrition rankas growth service areas, DVMs say

source-image
Aug 01, 2003


Table 1: Which of the following services do you provide?
Cleveland-Veterinarians say they are doing more dentistry, behavior and nutritional consulting today than three years ago.

In an exclusive DVM Newsmagazine state-of-the-profession survey (see related story, p. 15), veterinarians reported growing service areas for practice. (See Tables 1-2.)

If you ask marketing expert Karyn Gavzer, a veterinary consultant in Springboro, Ohio, these three areas dovetail with her No. 1 pick- senior care.

According to American Veterinary Medical Association statistics, seniors represent 35 percent of the pet population. Older pets drive many of the existing veterinary services including diagnostics, pre-anesthetic screening, dentistry, physical rehabilitation, dermatology, nutrition and internal medicine.

Gavzer adds however, that expansion isn't always about creating new services, but improving the services you offer clients through better client compliance.

Dentistry is a prime example. According to AAHA's compliance survey, dental prophylaxis represents an estimated $310,000 opportunity for each practice, because 85 percent of dogs and cats more than 1 year of age suffer from various stages of periodontal disease. Senior screenings were estimated at providing another $114,600 a year to a typical practice based on a compliance rate of only 14 percent for this service.


Table 2: Are you providing more, less, or about the same amount of each service compared to 3 years ago?
Gavzer adds, "I really believe compliance will be big this year. This is a patient care issue. And the result will produce revenue by providing better care."

DVM Newsmagazine's state-of-the-profession survey, reports that 64 percent of veterinarians say they are providing more dentistry service as compared to three years ago.

Other growth areas cited by veterinarians include:

ยท Nutritional consulting, 34 percent.

  • Behavioral consulting, 30 percent.
  • Non-Rx product sales, 25 percent.
  • Boarding, 19 percent
  • Grooming, 15 percent

Gavzer adds that the decision to expand service is really about providing better patient care, and the revenue will follow. "The only way to quantify and measure client compliance or existing services is by placing a dollar value to it. But you have to remember those missed dollars represent patients that didn't get the care they needed," she adds.

Battling a recession?Gavzer adds that anecdotally veterinarians are communicating a mild slow-down due to this economic recession.

If your practice is feeling a slow-down, she recommends redoubling management efforts to make certain the practice is providing clients high quality service.

"You start feeling management problems when the economy gets soft. Maybe when things were busier, staff stopped making those follow-up phone calls or spend as much time educating clients as they should because they didn't have time." Whatever the reason, Gavzer adds, it is a great opportunity to do some staff education and training to improve on patient care and client service.

"In veterinary medicine, we are not recession proof, but we seem to be one of the last places to feel it, because people are not going to wait on their pets' appointments. The pet is like a child, and they are going to take care of their pet."