Letter to dvm360: Its time to promote the veterinary profession to the public
In a letter to the editor, a reader makes a case for promoting veterinary medicine.
I agree with some of the statements by each of the doctors and Mark Cushing in “Too many veterinarians?” in the September 2014 issue. I believe that we are seeing fewer client visits in our clinics because our profession and our professional associations have failed to inform the public of the value of veterinary medical care. We have not educated the consuming public of our formal training and education and that veterinary care is medicine, so it is extremely complicated and it requires professional expertise. Presently, the majority of the consuming public ranks us with groomers and pet store owners. For example, pet owners will have their dogs groomed consistently every three to four weeks all year long but are not receptive to invest about that same annual cost for a professional dental prophylaxis.
I believe that the failure of our professional associations to become proactive in promoting our profession to the public is because most of our leaders have been in multidoctor practices in larger metropolitan areas or in academia. In larger metro areas, median incomes are higher and demographics indicate a higher percentage of “class A” and “class B” clients, while those of us practicing in areas of smaller populous and rural areas are serving a higher percentage of “class C, D and F” clients. We need to elevate our status in the eyes of the public with relentless public relations information.
I have numerous clients who are physicians and nurses in human medicine, and I am amazed at how naive they are regarding our capabilities and expertise. The public needs to be informed as to what it takes to become and continue to be a good veterinarian so that we are seen as true medical professionals with much more education, overhead costs and expertise than the pet store owner or their groomer.
Richard L. Goode, DVM