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pet insurance

How to Evaluate the Value of Pet Insurance

Vetting carriers and recommending one or more to a client can enhance pet owner loyalty.

Client loyalty is every veterinary practice’s most valuable intangible asset. While many factors create loyalty, client communication is probably the most important. In 2019, the American Veterinary Medical Association encouraged veterinary teams to communicate the availability of pet health insurance to clients and explain to them how insurance can improve the health, quality of life […]


What Is Professionalism?

Under normal circumstances, we hardly notice its presence. Its absence, however, is painfully apparent.

I heard a story that might appall you. A man nervous about the anesthesia that would accompany his colonoscopy used his cellphone to record the doctor’s instructions. This way, he could revisit them afterward, knowing his anxiety might make him forgetful. Flustered, he forgot to stop the recording, which continued throughout the entire procedure. Later, […]

hazardous waste

Risky Business

Getting Technical

How you handle, store and dispose of medical waste is strictly regulated, so make sure to do your homework.

Processing medical waste can be an overwhelming responsibility within a veterinary practice. Team members should be aware of and follow specific guidelines when dealing with infectious waste, biohazardous waste, and anatomical or pathological waste. Questions we often face and must know the answers to include “What constitutes hazardous waste?” and “How do we handle, store […]


The Gift of Gab

Talk the Talk

A well-trained CSR team will confidently and knowledgeably engage clients. The return on investment is greater efficiency.

You’ve undoubtedly heard the question, “Do you want it done fast or right?” You might respond, “Both!” Here’s another question: Would you rather have a client service representative (CSR) spend three minutes or six minutes quoting fees over the phone to a potential client? Given how busy your practice is, you’d prefer three minutes. But […]


Take the Fear Out of Injections


A series of small steps will pay off with a happier pet, a relieved client and stress-free return visits.

One of my clients used to joke that she did more shopping when she saw me at the veterinary hospital than she did at the grocery store or on Amazon. She’d buy food for all four of her pets, chronic medications, heartworm and flea/tick preventives, treats, toys, harnesses, toothbrushes, and even ID tags and collars. […]

veterinary boss employee

Hunger Pangs, Bad Behavior and Equipment Envy

Opening Shots

Opening Shots columnist Dr. Ernie Ward answers your questions.

Q: We’re super busy and probably understaffed. I’m OK that we never get to eat lunch, but my boss gets frustrated when I sit down to grab water and snacks in between appointments. What can I do? A: I feel your pain and hunger. Tell your boss that I’m frustrated by the number of veterinarians […]

working interview

Auditioning for a Job

Take Charge

Remember to follow the rules when you bring an applicant into the hospital to shadow a team member or do actual work.

Finding the perfect candidate to fill an open veterinary position is often a challenge. After you conduct a résumé review, reference check and 30-minute conversation, you still might not know whether the interviewee truly possesses the skills, knowledge and personality necessary for success. Inviting top candidates into the clinic for a job shadowing opportunity or […]


The Can-Do Charter

Artists create beauty by coloring outside the lines. What if your veterinary team could do — and be — so much more?

I had the opportunity a few years ago to buy into a partnership acquiring a multidoctor small animal hospital. The practice had been privately owned for all of its 30-plus years. During one of our early meetings with the owner-doctor, he enthusiastically showed us his policy book, a 3-inch binder overflowing with sheet after sheet […]

pay raise

What About a Raise?

H.R. Huddle

A request for a pay hike can come at any time. Employees must be prepared when asking for one and managers need to know how to respond.

Veterinary practices, like many other businesses, often award pay raises during annual employee reviews. The timing is logical because it’s a moment for performance-related feedback. But what if you’re a practice team member who thinks you deserve a raise outside of the normal timeframe? For example, you’ve taken on extra duties during the pandemic and […]

employee training

Educate and Document

Getting Technical

Whether you and your employees like it or not, safety training is a must at veterinary clinics.

Many practice managers and employees cringe at the thought of conducting or attending safety training, the most dreaded meeting of the year. Among the excuses heard about why training doesn’t happen regularly and consistently are: we’re too busy; safety training is boring and nobody cares; “it” will never happen to us; getting the whole team […]