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Product pay-off: What's the best investment for your veterinary practice?


It takes more than just good bedside manner to keep clients happy these days. Our experts weigh in on the products and services to give you a competitive edge and keep pet owners coming back.

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It’s certainly easy to be tempted by every shiny new gadget you see in a magazine or at a conference these days, but unless you’ve got an unlimited budget for new equipment, you need to think carefully before taking the plunge.

In the 2012 Veterinary Economics Business Issues Survey, we asked veterinarians what products or services they’d like to add to their practice and for the second year in a row, digital radiography took the lead, followed by laser therapy and nutritional counseling. But before you run out and buy the latest physical rehabilitation equipment or surgical laser, listen to what our experts had to say on which ones will give you the most bang for your buck.

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Dr. Karl Salzsieder, JD, a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and owner of Salzsieder Consulting and Legal Services in Longview, Wash., thinks the survey results are dead-on with digital radiography and laser therapy topping the list. “Most practitioners are aware of the dramatic increase in diagnostic accuracy they get with digital radiography,” he says. “And as practices increase their use of general digital radiography, dental radiology equipment should also be a big increase in veterinary use in 2012.”

Dr. Salzsieder also thinks that a laser therapy unit is one of the most beneficial and worthwhile pieces of equipment to add at the general practice level. With capabilities such as increased wound healing and decreased recovery times—not to mention growing popularity among consumers—he expects that more veterinarians will see a need for laser therapy in their practices.

Dr. Fred Metzger, DABVP, another Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member and owner of Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pa., certainly appreciates the importance of digital radiography and laser therapy, but thinks that in-house testing—particularly hematology—should be No. 1 on veterinarians’ most-wanted list.

“When you look at how many CBCs veterinarians should be running versus how many they actually do, it’s embarrassing,” he says. “Those tests should be part of every preanesthetic work-up and every sick patient visit, and when you have it there in your practice, you run it a lot more. Plus, it’s such a time-sensitive test, it pays to have it in-house.”

Dr. Metzger stands by the philosophy that veterinarians should offer the kinds of products and services that make you stand out in the profession. “Laboratory and radiography are the two most profitable areas in your hospital—that’s where you should put your money.”

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