VETERINARY ECONOMICS, Apr 1, 2006 - Veterinary Economics
Veterinary Economics


Checking in
It's time for spring planting
By Marnette Denell Falley
Spring. It's finally here. The daffodils are blooming. The hyacinths are up. The dogs come in almost every day with muddy paws, so I have semi-permanent footprints on the window sills where they peer out to see who's coming.
The price tag for a pet
Veterinary consultant Jim Wilson, DVM, JD, produced a spreadsheet that potential owners can use to calculate the lifetime costs of their new pets. The goal is to ensure they're prepared for the expenses of adequate care.
Relief for Katrina's equine victims
In February, several equine organizations joined forces to donate 6,500 hay bales to nearly 800 horses in Vermillion Parish, La., one of the areas most devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
Small business don't tap federal programs
A recent survey shows that a majority of small business owners don't know which agencies can help their business. In fact, 93 percent of those surveyed have not worked with the federal government to receive assistance.
Animal disease research facility in the works
The Department of Homeland Security is planning a new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility to replace the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center in Long Island, N.Y.
Practice Management Q&A
Student loan relief
By Mark Opperman, CVPM
Our associate has more than $80,000 in school debt. She receives a fair salary, but I would like to help her more. Any ideas?
The cost of expanding
By Lorraine Monheiser List
My group practice is thinking of adding a doctor, but we're worried that it could cost more in additional overhead than he or she will produce. What should we do?
Prices: Who knows what?
By Roger Cummings, CVPM
Should the doctor know the prices for procedures and services?
Staff abusing sick days
By Marty Stanley
I suspect our sick-leave policy encourages employees to take time off when they're not really ill. Is there any way to prevent this?
Compensation for after-hours work
By Denise Tumblin, CPA
In "Feeling Squeezed by Expenses?" (December 2005), the author discusses categories for expenses. What category does after-hours emergency work fit into, and what is the current pay recommendation for those services?
Coming up with messages
By Sheila Higgs
We have a sign out front that we put messages and sayings on. But we struggle to come up with something to put on it. Any suggestions?
Practice Tips
It's bin good
"To increase efficiency at our front desk, we maintain a very organized file-placement system, with bins for every possible function," says Sabrina Lewis, veterinary nurse at Central Broward Animal Hospital in Plantation, Fla.
The devil with debt
By Fritz Wood, CPA, CFP
Does a moment with your credit card statement feel like a moment in hell? Quit cowering and put out the flames for good.
Taxing associate buy-ins
By Gary Glassman, CPA
If you're considering selling part ownership to a valued associate, you need to know the tax traps for buyers and sellers.
Two phones mean sanity and service
You want to be available when needed but not a slave to your phone, right? Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Dennis Cloud, owner of Cloud Veterinary Center in St. Louis, suggests you get two cell phones.
Stay focused on dental care
Just because Pet Dental month has passed doesn't mean you should stop pushing good dental care for patients.
A fun way to answer your team's questions
By Barbara Schipkowski
Use a newsletter to make sure staff members never feel left out in the cold.
Satisfy or risk goodbye
By Bob Levoy
If your team members aren't feeling satisfied with their jobs, find out what's wrongand find a fix.
A group of one's own
By Lynn Kessel
Lynn Kessel, practice manager at Round Rock Animal Hospital in Round Rock, Texas, firmly believes that every hospital manager needs someone to vent to, share ideas with, or solve problems with. "The doctors are busy, and it may not be appropriate for a manager to share certain issues with employees," she says.
Growth Center
Hydrotherapy rehabilitates patients
The patients at West Park Animal Hospital in Cleveland are getting on their feet faster, because practice owners, Drs. Kane Henderson and Borys Pakush, installed an underwater treadmill to expand rehabilitative efforts for dogs and cats. "Hydrotherapy cuts down healing time after surgery and eases joints for pets suffering from arthritis," says Dr. Henderson. "We also use the treadmill for weight loss and strength training."
Staff training program increases heartworm preventive compliance
You know how important heartworm preventive is and likely prefer clients buy 12 months worth of preventive at once, so they don't delay when they need more and risk the pet's health. After sending a practice manager to an AAHA pilot program on compliance in 2003, Suburban Animal Clinic in Columbus, Ohio, implemented a few changes to increase 12-month heartworm preventive compliance.
Talking Points
8 pick-me-ups when you're feeling low
By Craig Woloshyn, DVM
Try these strategies to beat back burnout and stay jazzed about your work.
Legal Ease
Canine vaccine guidelines
To reflect changes in canine vaccinations, AAHA updated the AAHA Canine Vaccine Guidelines, originally released in 2003.
Background checks improve hiring
By Stephanie Slahor, Ph.D., JD
You can't afford to skip this crucial step when recruiting employees.
Radiation equipment inspection tip
Protective full-hand gloves and aprons are the minimum safety equipment required for most veterinary radiographic operations, says Philip Seibert, CVT.
Radiation safety basics
Sure, you know all about radiation safety. But are you following the rules? Is everyone in your practice taking precautions when it comes to exposure?
AVMA welfare committee
The AVMA Executive Board has passed a plan for immediate implementation of the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC).
Break-room standards
By Phil Seibert, CVT
What does OSHA require employers to provide in a break room?
Click & Copy
My Big Day handout
Use an after-surgery care form like this one to educate clients, bond them to your practice, and advertise your compassion and care.
Sew up your after-surgery handouts
Send your clients home with clear, concrete instructions?and take the opportunity to show them how much you care.
Cover Story
By Cynthia Wutchiett, CPA
Conflict closed this practice's doors for good. Don't suffer the same fate.
Associate Know-how
Fitting in the lineup
By Philip VanVranken, DVM , Andrew Rollo, DVM
Sometimes it's tough for a new associate to find his fit as part of the team, but having a good relationship with those up and down the roster is important for growth and success.
Equine Solutions
The road ahead: staying put
By Elise Lacher, CPA
Changes in horse owners' expectations clear a path for better working conditions?and may let you dedicate more time to your patients.
10 ways to avoid a lawsuit
By Amanda Bertholf
Making sure you're on the same page with clients is the best way to avoid malpractice claims. Use these strategies to refine your approach and avoid potential trouble spots.
Hospital Design
Small-practice warmth; big-time convenience
By Sarah Moser
For 87 Years, Alexandria Veterinary Clinic PetCare Center in Alexandria, Minn., served large and small animal clients in a warm, homey atmosphere. Sure, the facility faced changes and a couple of facelifts along the way, including a remodel in 1983 and an addition in 1995. But in 2000, the six owners decided they'd run out of space.
Professional Growth
Have skills will travel
By Brenda Santana, DVM
A relief career takes you from place to place, giving you the opportunity to experience practice in a different way. Yet this lifestyle isn't for everyone. Find out what skills and strategies will make this a successful career path for you.
Ownership Issues
Selecting the perfect site
By Wayne Usiak, AIA
There's more to a good site than the right location. Here's a look at the other factors you need to consider.
Rent or own?
By Mark Terry
For most doctors, owning the facility offers the most benefits. Yet there are circumstances when renting may be smarter, especially if you're starting from scratch. Consider these issues to decide what's right for you.
Hot Button
Stop asking your clients to make medical decisions
By Mark Opperman, CVPM
Your clients didn't go to veterinary school. You did. So why ask your clients, who have no training or expertise, to make medical decisions about the care of their pets?
Clean, organized, and spacious
The Hospital Design Competition judges complimented the treatment area for being clean, organized, and spacious. The area includes four treatment stations and two dental stations. Capping the utility columns three feet above the treatment table surfaces helps the area feel more open.

Alexandria Veterinary Clinic PetCare Center in Alexandria, Minn.
Clients sit apart
A greeter escorts clients directly to exam rooms upon arrival. The four standard exam rooms and two family-sized rooms feature a one-wall configuration with a twist: The client seating is across the room from the exam table to give technicians and veterinarians more room to move.

Alexandria Veterinary Clinic PetCare Center in Alexandria, Minn.
Three seating alcoves, a fireplace, wood beam trusses, and a greeter's station instead of a check-in and checkout desk help make clients' experience pleasant.

Alexandria Veterinary Clinic PetCare Center in Alexandria, Minn.
Harsh weather-proof
Alexandria Veterinary Clinic PetCare Center is designed to survive harsh Minnesota winters, with a pitched roof and maintenance-free materials. The doctors wanted a log-cabin-style facility but realized a heartier exterior accented with log trusses would be more practical for the climate. The thematic log decor repeats throughout the hospital, including on the freestanding practice sign.

Alexandria Veterinary Clinic PetCare Center in Alexandria, Minn.
Staff lounge and conference area
This room includes a kitchen and is large enough to accomodate hospital-wide meetings.

Alexandria Veterinary Clinic PetCare Center in Alexandria, Minn.


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