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cells thoughts

Minding Our Thoughts

Go With the Flow

Coming from a place of gentleness, acceptance and appreciation of ourselves can create more positive outcomes.

In our quest for the state of balance and aliveness that we refer to as “flow,” we might be tempted to view our realities as being too influenced by our genetics or external factors for our thoughts to have much of an impact. Fortunately, our actual reality is much more optimistic, as where we choose […]


Rekindling the Love of Work

Discharge Notes

Meaningful and memorable moments often outshine the end of a long, exhaustive pursuit. So, what are you striving for exactly?

Yesterday, I saw a client who informed me that she wouldn’t follow any of my nutrition advice because of “You know, dog food kickbacks.” Fortunately, she said, she had found the perfect dog food by sending a swab of her dog’s saliva to a company on the internet. Also yesterday: I treated a cat who […]


Paycheck Chatter and the Need for Time Off

Opening Shots

Opening Shots columnist Dr. Ernie Ward answers your questions.

Q: I own a four-doctor clinic and recently overheard our new associate veterinarian complain about her paycheck to a couple of technicians. She told them that most of her classmates received a higher percentage of revenue and better benefits. We have a written policy of not discussing compensation with other staff members. What should I […]


Lease for Less

Legal Lingo

Here’s what veterinary practice owners need to know before they sign a commercial rental agreement.

If you’re a soon-to-be veterinary practice owner, your initial reaction to finding suitable commercial space likely is excitement about the opportunity to move in and start growing your business. But before you do anything, you’ll want to focus on the lease agreement and all its implications. As with many legal agreements, a poorly drafted lease […]

corporate ownership

Your Ownership Choices

Money Matters

Consolidator money is chasing multidoctor practices. If you don’t want to start a clinic from scratch, consider buying an overlooked hospital or obtaining a small stake in a corporate transaction. 

The situation is all too common. You were promised — or you at least expected — the opportunity to become a partner in the veterinary practice where you work, only to be outbid by a corporate consolidator. Is this the end of your dream to own a veterinary hospital? It doesn’t have to be. Let’s […]


Breaking With Tradition

Politics and Policy

The veterinary establishment needs to trust the judgment of practitioners and appreciate what a virtual VCPR can do for pet care.

As the adoption of telemedicine rises, discussions persist on the details surrounding virtual care. A point that pet health stakeholders haven’t agreed on is whether the veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) should be established virtually. This past April, May and June helped to sort out the differences in how organizations view the telemedicine VCPR, or more precisely, […]

all aspects job

Hands-on Handoffs

Take Charge

Outgoing managers shouldn’t check out until their successors are familiar with the duties and understand how the hospital operates.

After more than 12 years of holding the same title at the same South Carolina veterinary hospital (and working with a handful of the same people), I have moved on to my next adventure: practice ownership in my home state of Indiana. The transition was planned 2½ years ago, and my replacement, the owner’s wife, […]


The Diversity of Diversity

Diversity Toolbox

History shows that we must raise our consciousness and learn to embrace inclusion and the entire spectrum of people in the veterinary profession.

Diversity is no stranger to veterinarians. This profession is composed of people who understand biodiversity and the earth’s self-regulating system that balances the populations and habitats of all species, humans included. In their day-to-day practice, veterinary team members are likely to see all kinds of animals, from snakes to dogs, gerbils to cats, frogs to […]

nonverbal communication

The Unspoken Truth

Talk the Talk

What are your clients not saying? Veterinary team members must watch for and decode a pet owner’s nonverbal communication and know how to respond.

I’m sure you’ve people-watched in an airport, restaurant or park. Even if you can’t hear their conversations, you easily form impressions of what the people might be thinking or feeling. If a couple are holding hands, you think they must be in love. If a teenager has his arms crossed and is scowling, you assume […]

senior pets

New Tricks for Old Dogs (and Cats)


You can do plenty to make life more pleasant for senior pets in your clinic and their homes.

As of late, just about everyone I know is trying to invest in one of the world’s hottest industries — ours. And for a good reason. A recent Morgan Stanley report predicts that today’s $100 billion U.S. pet industry will explode to $275 billion by 2030. Among the reasons: the incredible upswing in new pet […]