Working with wonderful animals and dedicated pet parents can be very rewarding. This is probably why some people view our work in veterinary clinics and hospitals as something fun, and a lot less stressful than working in, say, hospitals and clinics for people. It would be great if this were always true but, as with any industry, vets face a number of common challenges. Here, in this post, we'll share some of the challenges that veterinary workers, including doctors, have to face at work.
1. The need to keep up with trends and standards
One of the biggest challenges in the veterinary profession is staying up-to-date with new therapies, treatments, and drugs, as well as emerging trends and changing standards. Health challenges concerning pets also continue to change or evolve. These include the parvovirus in its earlier and more evolved forms, diabetes, heartworm, and cancer.
The continuing drug shortages for pets, as well as human-label medications, are part of this problem. Vets must also be flexible enough to know which and how much to administer depending on each case. Pet clinics also need to maintain a community presence and help address pressing animal concerns such as overpopulation and the need for effective programs for spaying and neutering.
2. Determining how much to charge
It’s an ongoing dilemma for veterinarians to set a pricing scheme that clients will find reasonable, while at the same time, being enough to pay salaries, various utility bills, and include a little bit for savings.
The reality is that there are rich and poor pet owners who, with all things being equal, are all genuinely devoted pet parents. It’s heartbreaking to see some pets not receiving the care they need because their owners cannot afford the required animal surgery and medicine. There are also remote areas and communities with a low animal population density that need to be serviced regularly, nonetheless.
One possible solution would be to coordinate with the state and local government for the allocation of funds for the development and ongoing support of animal shelters and corresponding veterinary care.
3. Continuing education and specialization
General veterinary medical practitioners are finding it increasingly harder to balance general veterinary medicine requirements with special tasks such as animal surgery. This is why there is a growing need for more specialization among vets, including ophthalmologists and soft tissue surgeons.
More vets are educating themselves further to remain relevant and updated on the latest industry trends and practices. This can be done by watching videos, listening to podcasts, and attending seminars, conferences, and workshops. Others enroll in higher education classes offered in vet schools to develop their expertise and obtain qualifications in niche areas. Aside from helping with increasing better health outcomes for pets, this can be one way of attracting potentially lucrative referral work from colleagues engaged in general practice.
4. Loans and low cash flow
Most veterinary medicine graduates leave school with an enormous amount of student debt. So even with a veterinary clinic, most of them would just be getting by in the first few years of their practice. What animal clinics and hospitals can do to increase their customer base and to increase cash flow is to come up with promotional campaigns targeting pet owners whose pets may be a little behind in their vaccination and deworming schedules.
5. Stiff competition
Aside from having to compete with the internet, veterinary practices also need to go against mobile pet clinics and mega pet stores. In order to stand out, veterinary clinic owners should aim to provide highly individualized services, match competitor pricing, and invest in marketing whereby you can put a focus on your strengths and USP.
Have questions or want to learn more about the vet life and what's going on in the industry? Contact Beech Lake Animal Hospital today.