How to Improve on Veterinary Business (20tips)

How to Improve on Veterinary Business: According to a recent study conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Over 90% of veterinary school graduates start out their careers with significant debt.

Over the last several decades, we’ve seen an unfortunate trend of dramatically increasing tuition costs and very little change in salaries.

And this means that many young vets straight out of school are feeling the immediate pressure to make a profit.

Whether you’re a recent graduate or an experienced veterinarian, here are tips for having a successful and financially stable veterinary practice.

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How to Improve on Veterinary Business:

How to Improve on Veterinary Business


Too frequently when we talk about boosting profits, we focus on decreasing costs and neglect the importance of pricing.

However, it’s important to be realistic about how much you can actually cut, and to realize that just cutting your expenses won’t necessarily lead to higher profit margins.

In fact, a study focusing on the differences between veterinary practices with strong financial stability.

And struggling practices found that the financially successful practices had only 2% lower costs than the unsuccessful practices.

The major difference between the two types of practices was instead related to pricing: profitable practices had an average of 13% higher fees than insolvent practices.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business

You can only cut costs so far, after all, and raising fees may be a more guaranteed way to make a profit.

This being said, many veterinary practices feel as though they can’t raise prices and remain in business.

Low-cost spay and neuter clinics have popped up in almost every city, and vets often feel the pressure to match these clinics’ costs in order to attract customers.

However, this isnt necessarily the most reasonable solution.

If your practice can’t realistically match the costs of a clinic—and most cant—look for alternative ways to make your practice an attractive option for customers.

For example, consider offering spay and neuter surgeries as part of a package that also includes vaccinations and exams for a year.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business

While this means that your practice will have to absorb the initial loss for the cost of the surgeries, it will also guarantee your practice a monthly income and return business.

Veterinary practices that offer these types of deals have found that the majority of their clients will end up renewing their pet’s health package at the end of the first year, further ensuring continued income for the business.

Additionally, be sure that you explain your pricing to every new client by speaking directly with them about it and offering detailed bills.

You want your clients to understand exactly what it is that they are paying for and what level of service they can expect from you that they won’t receive at a clinic.

Many clients are willing to pay a little extra for routine services if it means having a vet that is clearly dedicated to their pet’s all-around welfare.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business


Another important aspect to boosting your business’ profits involves keeping track of and understanding where your income is coming from.

As a veterinary practice, you should primarily be making money off your services, not the products you are selling.

It’s great to be able to make money off of supplements, flea medications, and special foods.

But it’s also important to realize that your customers are more likely to purchase these things from more convenient locations (like the pet store).

How to Improve on Veterinary Business

A practice that is dependent on selling products to turn a profit is not a sustainable business model.

If you find that you aren’t making the majority of your money from the services you currently offer, consider adding additional ones.

Teeth-cleaning and nail-cutting services are especially easy to add in since they are convenient things to do when your clients bring their pets in for checkups.

You may also want to think about offering more novelty services such as boarding, grooming, or “date-night” pet sitting.

Your goal is to make your veterinary practice as indispensable and helpful to your clients as possible.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business


There are several changes that you can make to maximize your profits from the products that you do decide to sell.

First of all, it’s incredibly important that you keep an accurate inventory rather than just eyeballing the products that you have on the shelves.

Ideally, you should be using some sort of inventory management software that automatically updates every time a customer purchases something.

Having an automated system means that you may only need to double-check your numbers weekly instead of daily.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business

Which in turn translates to less wasted time counting products by staff members.

Furthermore, investing in inventory management software will also help you keep better track of your stock and thus decrease unnecessary ordering.

Secondly, spend some time evaluating the products that you currently are selling.

Do you really need to be offering five different types of flea medicine or seven different special diet pet foods?

Your goal with your inventory is to have a comprehensive but small array of products that you can quickly sell.

Don’t throw your money away by having products sit on your shelves until they expire.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business

It is far easier to track your inventory and monitor product expiration dates when you have a small inventory that has a high turnover rate.

In general, it’s worth the extra shipping or delivery costs to only purchase a month’s supply of a product at a time.

Lastly, be sure that you are getting the best deals not only on pet medication and medical equipment but also on office supplies.

4. How to Improve on Veterinary Business

Some veterinary practices get so caught up in meticulously tracking prices for their inventory that they end up neglecting to do research on the other items they have to purchase for their office.

The money that you are saving with your small inventory will all be for naught if you are getting ripped off buying paper and pens.

After all, it only takes a little bit of extra effort and a few seconds of internet research to compare prices and ensure that you are getting a fair deal on office supplies.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business


If you’ve been to the doctor recently, you’ve probably noticed that just about everything (medical records, prescription refills, lab results, etc.) is electronic now.

Your veterinary practice should be no different.

The days of paper and pen medical records are over; it’s time to embrace electronic medical record (EMR) software.

EMR software allows you to quickly access your patient’s charts and tests with just a click of a button.

So that within seconds of walking into an exam room and logging into your computer.

You will have complete access to your patient’s medical history.

Furthermore, many EMR systems also come as packages that include practice management systems (PMS) as well.

6. How to Improve on Veterinary Business

Practice management systems usually include easy-to-use scheduling, billing, and inventory functions, as well as a portal for your clients to quickly book appointments and view their pet’s medical records.

There’s no getting around the huge amount of time it will take to get set up with an EMR/PMS.

But you will be absolutely astounded by how much time and money you will end up saving in the long-run.

Billing that used to take hours to finish will now be done with just a few clicks, giving you more time to see patients.

If you aren’t particularly tech savvy, consider bringing in an outside source to help you get set up and to train your staff to help smooth the transition.

No one becomes a veterinarian because they want to deal with paperwork, and EMR/PMS software will allow you to devote more time and energy to practicing medicine and less to record management.


While it’s certainly important that your practice emphasizes your commitment to animal welfare, don’t forget about the humans involved.

Visits to the vet can be stressful for both pets and owners alike.

And it’s important to remember that the owners are the ones bringing your patients to your practice and paying the bills afterwards.

Little things, like offering free parking, water or coffee in the waiting room (along with dog treats!), wi-fi, or reminder emails/texts/phone calls about upcoming appointments.

Can make the experience a far more pleasant one for your human clients.

8. How to Improve on Veterinary Business

Follow-up phone calls are also a nice touch to help your clients feel like you care about them and their pets and are not just out to make money off of them.

When it comes to the visit itself, make sure that you and your technicians are greeting both the pet and its owner.

Make good eye contact, have positive body language, and dress professionally.

Remember that doctor-patient time is what actually brings the money in for your practice, and use your technicians to get basic info and nothing more.

Pet owners will get frustrated if you enter the room after your technician and proceed to ask the exact same questions all over again.

9. How to Improve on Veterinary Business

Have good communication with your staff members, and be sure that everyone understand what their role is during a patient visit.

Dont forget that your front desk reception is the first interaction that your clients will have with your practice, and be sure to hire individuals that are friendly and knowledgeable.

Lastly, be forthright about your charges.

There’s unfortunately a pervasive belief that many veterinarians take advantage of pet owners’ love for their animals.

And lack of knowledge about veterinary medicine to rip them off and charge them for unnecessary vaccinations and procedures.

10. How to Improve on Veterinary Business

Only about 1% of pet owners have pet health insurance, which means that the vast majority of your clients are going to be paying their pets bills by themselves.

Show your clients some respect by being upfront about costs before or during a checkup.

Your clients should never be shocked when they are handed the bill at the end of a visit.

You want your clients to understand exactly what they are getting for their money, and why it is worth their time and money to visit you instead of the practice down the road.

With many baby boomers retiring and selling their veterinary practices, now is a great time to buy your own practice.

11. How to Improve on Veterinary Business

You dont want to spend your entire career working for wages and struggling to pay off your student loans, and owning your own practice can be incredibly rewarding emotionally and financially if done properly.

Follow our tips, and in no time at all you’ll find your no-low practice transformed into a booming business.

Related: 7 Tips to Start Veterinary Business in Nigeria

See also: 40 Top Cattle Care-guide Tips in Nigeria

Read also: 28 Livestock Disease Prevention Tips in Nigeria

How to Improve on Veterinary Business

12. Make use of the Chemicals

1. Bleaching powder (Chloride of lime)

  • It can be used for disinfection of animal houses when a contagious disease has occurred and for sterilization of water supplies.
  • It should not be used in milking barns as its strong odour may taint milk.
  • Concentration required is not less than 30 per cent available chlorine.
  • Mode of application is dusting.
  • Bleaching powder must be stored in airtight bins as damp surroundings, exposure light and air causes it decompose rapidly.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business

2. Boric acid

  • It can be used as an udder wash.
  • It is a week antiseptic and is likely to harm nervous system if absorbed into body in large quantities.
  • It is used as wash for eyes and other sensitive parts of body.
  • Concentration required is 6 per cent solution.
  • Mode of application is splashing.
  • Nowadays antibiotic solutions are replacing boric acid as eyewash solution.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business

3. Caustic soda (Sodium hydroxide)

  • For general use in farm buildings and animal houses, caustic soda is a very effective disinfectant as it is an excellent cleaning agent as well as a powerful germicide.
  • It is highly destructive to virus of foot and mouth disease, hog cholera etc.
  • It is not effective against tuberculosis and johnes disease organisms.
  • Concentration required is 2 per cent solution for general use and 5 percent solution against spores of anthrax and black quarter.
  • Mode of application is splashing.
  • Rubber gloves, goggles and protective clothing should always be worn when caustic soda solution is being used as it burns skin and damages fabrics.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business

4. Cresols

  •  The cresols are only slightly soluble in water and are therefore generally emulsified with soap.
  •  Effective against a wide range of organisms including acid fast tuberculosis and Johnes disease bacteria but not effective against viruses and spores.
  •  Good for disinfecting floors, walls, equipment etc. but not in milking barns because of its phenolic odour.
  •  Concentration required is 2-3 per cent.
  •  Mode of application is splashing.
  •  Use only soft water for preparing solutions, hard water precipitates soap.
  •  Lysol is a solution of cresol with soap.

5. Lime (Calcium Oxide, quick lime)

  • It is a deodorant as well as a disinfectant.
  • It can be used for sprinkling on manure and animal discharges, on floors or as a whitewash or milk of lime (also known as slacked lime).
  • Mode of application is sprinkling, scrubbing or sometimes dusting.
  • Always use freshly prepared lime only.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business

6. Phenol (Carbolic acid)

  • Effective against several types of bacteria; not so effective on spores and viruses.
  • Its disinfectant value is not reduced by the presence of organic matter but oil or alcohol does so.
  • It is very toxic, corrosive and irritant.
  • Concentration required is 1-2 per cent.
  • Mode of application is splashing.
  • Great care should be taken in using phenol to protect eyes, skin and clothing.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business

7. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QAC)

  • These are cationic detergents.
  • They have no effect on spores and viruses.
  • They can be used to disinfect dairy utensils, udders, milkers’ hands and towels for wiping udders.
  • Cetrimide, a white powder is an example for QAC.
  • Concentration requires is 0.1 per cent solution (0.5 per cent cream for applying on teats and hands to prevent mastitis.
  • Mode of application is wiping of udder with clothes wetted in 0.1 per cent solution; washing of milkers’ hands.
  • Utensils should be scrubbed with boiling water before rinsing with QAC.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business

8. Soap

  • Soap is an anionic detergent.
  • It is a very week germicide.
  • But its great usefulness in cleaning various surfaces including skin.
  • It can be used preparatory to the application of a disinfectant.
  • Mode of application is scrubbing.
  • It should preferably be used only as surface-sanitizing agent.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business

9. Sodium hypochlorite

  • It is a chlorine compound.
  • It is an excellent disinfectant but is not effective against T.B bacteria and its effectiveness is reduced by the presence of organic matter.
  • Concentration required is 200 parts per million of available chlorine about 300 ml sodium hypochlorite and about 200g of washing soda in 100 litres of hot water for washing utensils etc. For udder wash-about 60 ml in 10 litres of clean water.
  • Rinsing of utensils, wiping of udder.
  • Should be stored in air-tight containers as hypochlorites deteriorate rapidly when exposed to air.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business

10. Washing Soda (Soda ash, Sodium carbonate)

  • It is good for disinfection of barn premises upon which an outbreak of virus disease like foot-and-mouth disease has occurred.
  • It is a good detergent.
  • Concentration required is 4 per cent solution.
  • Mode of application is scrubbing.
  • Lye is better against Foot-and-mouth disease virus than soda ash.
  • It should be used as a hot solution.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business

13. Know about the General Disease Preventive Measures:

  • Feed should be placed in troughs that cannot be contaminated by faeces and waterers should be kept clean and free of contaminants.
  • Good grazing management will control pasture or grassland borne helminthic infections.
  • Use of clean or safe pastures (not grazed for 6 to 12 months) will help to control helminths problems.
  • Rotational grazing of livestock species should be followed to minimize or limit the infection from pasture.
  • All new arrivals to the farm should be isolated for at least 30 days and dewormed.
  • Young animals are generally more susceptible to parasites than adults. Therefore young animals should be housed separately from adult animals.

    How to Improve on Veterinary Business

  • Infected/Infested animals should be removed from the flock or herd and housed separately.
  • Treatment should be followed by chemoprophylaxis to prevent reinfection.
  • Vaccines may be used to prevent infection, if suitable vaccines are available.
  • Prompt and proper disposal of manure and other filth from the farm premises.
  • Regular scrubbing and cleaning of feed and water troughs as well as whitewashing their interior at least once in a week.

    How to Improve on Veterinary Business

  • Leveling up all ditches, low marshy areas, pits etc. in and around animal houses so that water may not stagnate in them.
  • Filling up or fencing of all stagnant water pools, ponds etc. around the farm and on pastures so that animals may not get access to them. It is always better to have piped water supply to farm animals.
  • Housing animals in clean houses with paved floors.
  • Animals of different ages should be housed separately.
  • Younger animals should never be mixed with older ones.
  • Proper deworming of all such animals before putting them in a shed or bringing them into the farm.
  • If grazing is practiced-division of pasture into several blocks and practicing rotational grazing in these blocks.

How to Improve on Veterinary Business

  • Feeding of cultivated fodders is more helpful in checking pasture-borne infections.
  • Preventing humans from defecating on pastures or around the farm, as this may cause contamination with tape worm eggs.
  • Care should be taken to see that dogs (intermediate hosts), crows and other birds (mechanical carriers) do not gain access to the animal farm.
  • Control of snail population may result in control of liver fluke infestation to some extent.
  • It is worthwhile trying reduction of snail population by treating infected pastures, ponds, streams, etc. with copper sulphate.
  • A concentration of one part of copper sulphate in one million parts of water is generally recommended but stronger solution may be necessary when large quantities of decaying organic matter are present.

15. Send Reminders for Services Due

If youre not already sending out appointment reminders.

You should start! Its easy for clients to forget when services are due.

Especially if they only visit once or twice a year.

Wellness promotions or special endof-year discounts can drive additional traffic during the slow season.

16. Call Overdue Patients

Check your database to see which pets are overdue for a visit and have team members call the owners. A call lends a sense of urgency, as well as a personal touch.

17. Offer Welcome-Back Discounts

Have you reviewed a list of inactive clients lately? Focus on those who have drifted away in the past year or two. Follow up by mail or phone with a we miss you message and let them know you have a special welcome-back offer available if they return.

18. Promote Your Wellness Plans

Wellness plans, which allow clients to spread their pet care cost out over the course of the entire year, paying on a monthly or quarterly basis, provide a steady stream of income for a practice. The income from wellness plans can help sustain your practice during the quieter months, and provide excellent value to your clients. During slower times of the year, consider running some promotions to encourage clients to sign on to a wellness plan. Its a perfect time to focus on growing this aspect of your business, and a true win-win for everyone involved.

19. Contact Clients with Refills Due

Prescription refills are a great source of revenue for a practice, and reminding clients that they will soon run out of medication is another way to increase veterinary business. Just run a quick report to see which pets prescriptions will soon be due for a refill, and then reach out prior to expiration. You can also mention that additional monitoring tests might be required to continue pets on specific types of medication.

20. Host Open Houses or Educational Events

You may gain new clients by hosting an event that is open to the public. Contact existing clients to encourage them to attend and bring a friend. You can also reach out to local media outlets and network with other pet businesses to promote the event.

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