If you’re not offering a wellness plan or planning to do so in the near future, you’d better get cracking.

This is the advice of Ron Brakke of Brakke Consulting, who highlighted recent trends, news and developments in the veterinary world at the Animal Health Breakfast Roundtable in Kansas City, Mo.

"If a vet doesn’t do it, he’s going to be out of business," Brakke, president of Brakke Consulting, said to a group of industry and professional leaders Wednesday, June 20, 2012.

Brakke spoke at the first Animal Health Breakfast Roundtable, hosted by Stinson Morrison Hecker, LLP. Brakke and Susan Warren, also of the Brakke consultancy, highlighted the trends and developments over the past six months. The event took place in the law firm’s office in Kansas City.

Here is a summary of major trends to look for in 2012 and going forward, based on Brakke’s presentation.


Diagnostics is one of the hottest and most promising fields in companion animal health, Brakke said. With the increased focus on preventive health care and the rise of prepaid wellness programs, diagnostics will take center stage at practices.

Spending on diagnostics has increased nearly threefold in the past seven years, according to Brakke figures. In 2005, $685 million was spent on diagnostics. Currently, that number is close to $2 billion – and most of the spending is directed at companion animals. ...more
In this exclusive video interview with NEWStat, practice management consultant Karyn Gavzer gives insight on using solutions marketing can help your clinic find success. ...more
The condition of the present academic veterinary community may be leading research, food security, and public health needs to a train wreck if the current course is not altered, according to a new report from the National Research Council, released May 30, 2012.

At the present rate, the academic veterinary community will not produce enough veterinarians for faculty teaching and research positions, nor for jobs in federal research and regulatory agencies, the pharmaceutical and biologics industry, and state diagnostic laboratories, according to the report.

The report notes that though the supply of veterinarians is growing, more than half of veterinary students are pursuing training in companion animal or pet medicine rather than the research, food security and public health sectors.

The economy has also handicapped students who may have gone on to seek Ph.D. training for faculty teaching and research positions, burdening them under massive student debt and keeping them from pursuing further education and key jobs in the public sector.

The 2012 study was initiated by a 2006 request from the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC), with support from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), Bayer Animal Health and the Burroughs Welcome Fund in response to concerns about West Nile, BSE, HPAI, 9/11 and the security and safety of the food supply. ...more
Chronic conditions, especially obesity, are on the rise across the United States over the past five years, according to the newly released 2012 State of Pet Health Report from Banfield.

According to the Banfield report, overweight and obesity, arthritis, kidney disease, thyroid disease, and heart disease are all on the rise.

"Over the past five years, many chronic conditions have continued to increase, in some instances, at an alarming rate," Banfield Chief Medical Officer Jeffrey Klausner, DVM, wrote in the report.

The research reflects a dramatic increase in reports of overweight and obese pets. According to the report, overweight and obese pets have increased by 37 percent (dogs) and 90 percent (cats) since 2007.

As a part of its report, Banfield surveyed both dog and cat owners about their perceptions of veterinary care and their pets’ health.

Of the pet owners surveyed, 76 percent of dog owners and 69 percent of cat owners said they believe their pet is just the right weight. ...more
The Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine is expecting to see a loss of 30 to 40 percent of its professors over the next 10 years, according to the Cornell Daily Sun. ...more
Job creation continues a steady rise, according to new data from Gallup released in April.

Job creation experienced the largest one-month jump in March since 2008, spurring U.S. job market conditions to their best level since August 2008.

Gallup’s Job Creation Index, measured at +18 in March, up from +14 in February. The four-percentage-point increase is the largest one-month jump in the index since 2008.

The March Job Creation Index shows that 35 percent of U.S. adult works say their employers are hiring and expanding the size of their workforces, while 17 percent say their employers are letting workers go and reducing the size of the workforces. The Midwest leads in net new hiring (strong hiring coupled with relatively low layoffs or firing), followed closely by the South. The East and West lag behind, due mostly to lower hiring. ...more
About two-thirds of students surveyed in a recent campus climate survey report that underrepresented veterinary medical students receive high to very high levels of support from their schools. ...more
Clinics that make an effort to increase the feline friendliness of their practices can expect to see a small increase in cat visits as well as revenue from those visits, according to results from a CATalyst pilot program. The program, called the Cat Friendly Practice Makeover, was a pilot program organized by CATalyst Council, a national initiative comprised of animal health and welfare organizations working on behalf of cats. Seventeen practices participated in the pilot initiative; of those 17, data from 16 of those practices was used in survey results.

CATalyst Council released the results of its pilot program at the Western Veterinary Conference (WVC) Feb. 20, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Participating practices showed a 2.6 percent increase in year-on-year cat visits, while non-participating clinics showed a decrease of 2 percent in cat visits during the same period of time.

The program, which started about a year and a half ago, was designed to increase feline visits and prepare hospitals to provide exceptional service when receiving feline-owning clients. ...more
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