Prefer canines? Maybe it's time to go dog-only


This veterinarian decided to focus on the species she really lovedand has seen her practice grow as a result.

After spending almost three decades as a small animal veterinarian, Susan Prescott, DVM, is a certifiable dog person. Prescott, owner of Dogs Only Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, turned her practice into a dog-focused clinic about seven years ago, she tells dvm360.

Dr. Susan Prescott“I don't dislike cats, but my personal scale tips greatly to dogs,” Prescott says. “I said, ‘At this age, I'm going to do what I want to do rather than what I need to do in my business.'”

With buy-in from her staff, Prescott found going dog-only has raised her practice's level of care.

“When you are just doing one species, you can be a lot better at it. You don't have to study cat stuff at night,” she says. “You know all the genetic conditions of different breeds off the top of your head. You can be better at it because you're not so spread thinly.”

When Prescott made the switch, less than 17 percent of her clients were bringing in cats. Even her dog clients were taking their cats elsewhere-often to one of the area's feline-only hospitals. “In their mind, they viewed the veterinary care of the cat differently than the dog,” Prescott says.

The clinic offered to send the records of the feline patients she was seeing at the time to other practices, but clients also had the option to be grandfathered in to the clinic's patient roster. About six clients still bring in senior cats, Prescott says.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Susan PrescottPrescott didn't receive any backlash after transitioning the clinic to dog-only, but she didn't dwell on possible criticism. “I ‘should be' open to be treating cats or dogs, and I ‘should be' open to treating pigs, cows and horses, and we're trained in all that stuff,” she says. “But it doesn't mean you can be good at all that.”

Making the decision to go dog-only is a significant financial decision, she says, and the location must be right. Her clinic's dog focus has allowed it to devote all of its exam rooms to dogs and outfit them with lift tables. Perhaps her most grateful clients? Those with cat allergies, Prescott says.

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