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Letter to dvm360: It's time to look within for the answer to oversupply
Government and regulatory agencies aren't going to solve the problem for us. Its time to trust ourselves again.
The big picture of veterinary oversupply is at best uncertain, but here are the realities of my world. If I were not a veterinarian I could not afford what I charge for my services. No matter how many pets are out there, they are under the discretionary budget for most owners. Price increases, whether to cover increased costs or improve profitability, do influence pet owners' ability to return to a practice despite good service and experience. Most owners who cannot afford veterinary services cannot afford insurance.
Profit centers that are lost have to be made up elsewhere. Government regulation has increased over my practice life and I don't see it slowing down. My debt ratio at graduation was 1.8 to 1, but I paid off my loans and managed to send five daughters to college. I don't believe there's a veterinary student out there who doesn't know what they're getting into career- and debt-wise. I know of no colleague who doesn't give a realistic opinion of the future of veterinary medicine to aspiring veterinarians no matter which way they lean on the oversupply issue.
I recall being told at graduation that we should grab any available job because the reality was not all of us would find employment. To my knowledge we all did, despite 15 percent interest rates and an uncertain economy. The good news is that we got infused with new blood and new ideas, aspirations and abilities that seem to elude us now. By fixing problems in our own worlds we will fix the larger issues. Do not look to government or organizations for the fix because it will not come from them. It is time to trust our own abilities again.
Siegfried Mayer, DVM