What veterinarians didn't learn from the recession

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Are practices nationwide seeing growth, or just the same pet owner dollars moved around?

I am ready to hypothesize that our profession has learned very little since the recession started. An article in AAHA's June 2014 Trends (“State of the Industry”) analyzed the percentage of practices that experienced growth or significant growth since the recession with the intent to give us tips on how we could all do a better job attracting clients and generating income. Here's the rub: There was no data indicating the age of the practices that were surveyed, discussion of the short and long-term health of the regional economy for the owners that responded, or how many new practices had opened in each respondent's demographic. The author concluded that we could all be equally successful if we followed these growing practices' examples. But the question remains, what growth might be a result of redistribution, not actual growth within our industry?

And how about those nice shiny new colleges of veterinary medicine opening? Other professions are recognizing an imbalance between supply and demand in their ranks-why can't we? Never mind that we already have more graduates than the marketplace can absorb-let's throw more into the workforce.

How long will I be returned to dust before the state and national associations start making an earnest effort to address these financial challenges? When will we see a real study addressing the economic challenges in the marketplace? Until then, let's keep smiling and lower our prices, because frankly, we may be worth a little less than we thought.

Lee Stuart, DVM

Palm Coast, Florida

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