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Industry should start a veterinary school

Everyone in the business of veterinary medicine knows there is a serious shortage of practicing veterinarians. Even though there are more vet schools, the DVM product they are producing does not meet the needs of the market.

Today’s grads do not appear to have the skills, desire and drive of previous generations of successful doctors. Because of the big gender divide, DVMs will see fewer patients in their practice life, work shorter schedules and leave the profession earlier. That in itself cuts the number of available marketplace DVMs. My estimate is it may impact patient care visits as much as 50%.

The other fact is the vet school DVM product is not focused on patient care delivery and those skills necessary to successfully address patient needs. It is the “all about me” era, and vet schools feed off that student weakness.

I have stated that few in the employ of the vet schools have experience and success in the marketplace I serve. Many have no idea what I do. This is the main reason our DVMs may not be ready for prime time. My clients have one basic request: “Please fix my pet. I love her!”

Now think about a different model. We are in the process of selling our industry to a candy maker. It is logical that these venture capital consolidators are growing in size and market share. The problem for them is the same — they need more doctors with better skill and knowledge.

I propose that these consolidators add the big players like Idexx, Heska, etc., and form a vet school startup. The advantage for them is they already have the clinical facilities for students to train, gain experience and work for income. These businesses would be better able to select candidates to serve their investment. They could avoid much of the silly wastefulness of the university PC culture that drives up student costs and does nothing to improve patient care.

It would be a DVM program that focused on patient care delivery, superior clinical skills, veterinary economics, management and personal wealth acquisition.

Yes, it is a new idea, but an idea whose time has come.

Dr. Lanier is founder and CEO of Veterinary Emergency Service in Madison Heights, Michigan. His blog, DVM Success, can be found at dvmsuccess.blogspot.com.