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Understanding What A Vet Practice Is All About

You rely on your veterinarian to keep your pets healthy. But have you ever thought about what happens behind the scenes at a vet practice? These animal health professionals do more than just examine your dog or cat. Running a veterinary practice like RossMoreVetHospital involves a range of services, specialists, and business operations.

Defining a Vet Practice

A veterinary practice refers to a business operated by licensed veterinarians and their support staff. Their goal is to provide preventative, diagnostic, and treatment services for pets, livestock, zoo animals, and wildlife. A vet practice can have a single vet or multiple veterinarian partners. The services they offer depend on their specialties and interests.

For example, one vet practice might focus just on dogs and cats. Another might treat pets plus horses, cattle, pigs, and sheep. Some vet practices offer specialized services like surgery, dentistry, or rehabilitation. There are even mobile vet practices that drive to farms or clients’ homes.

Common Services Provided

While services vary, most full-service vet practices offer:

  • Preventive Care: This includes vaccinations, heartworm testing, flea/tick prevention, and regular checkups to maintain health. Preventive care accounts for much of a general practice vet’s daily workload.
  • Diagnostics: Vets diagnose sick or injured animals using lab tests, imaging like x-rays and CT scans, and physical exams. They figure out what’s wrong based on medical history, symptoms, and test results.
  • Pharmacy: In-house pharmacies fill prescriptions for medications to treat diagnosed conditions. Things like antibiotics, pain relievers, and heart medications.
  • Surgery: Many vets perform common outpatient procedures like spay/neuter, mass removals, orthopedic surgeries, and dental work in their clinics. More complex surgeries happen at specialty or emergency hospitals.
  • Hospitalization: Pets with contagious illnesses or who need post-op monitoring and care stay overnight or longer at the vet clinic for treatment and observation.
  • Dentistry: Vets clean pets’ teeth, take x-rays, extract teeth, perform root canals, and treat disease like gingivitis. Dental care is vital to pets’ comfort and health.
  • Grooming: Some practices offer dog and cat grooming services like bathing, nail trims, brush outs, and haircuts conveniently on site.
  • End of Life Care: Vets compassionately help sick, aged, or suffering pets transition peacefully at the end of life. This includes at-home euthanasia services.

Staffing a Vet Practice

Behind your family vet is a team of veterinary professionals, support staff, and business operations:

  • Veterinarians: Licensed vets examine patients, diagnose issues, perform surgery, and prescribe treatment plans. Some vets have general skills, while others specialize in areas like ophthalmology, dentistry, neurology, or dermatology.
  • Veterinary technicians: Technicians are trained professionals who assist vets during appointments, take lab samples, monitor patients under anesthesia, take radiographs, and more. They free up vets to see more patients.
  • Receptionists: Friendly office staff schedule appointments, communicate with clients, process payments, maintain records, and check patients in/out.
  • Practice manager: The practice manager handles HR duties, marketing, inventory, financials, and strategic decisions for the business side of the clinic.
  • Facilities staff: These employees clean exam rooms, sterilize instruments, restock supplies, and take care of clinic maintenance.
  • Boarding staff: Larger clinics may have staff dedicated to caring for hospitalized and boarded pets around the clock.

Running an Efficient Vet Practice

To provide optimal care, a vet practice needs to run efficiently. Workflow, technology, and business processes all contribute to smooth operations:

  • Scheduling: Balancing appointment types and lengths allows vets’ time to be well utilized.
  • Medical records: Digital veterinary software tracks patients’ histories and generates treatment plans.
  • Inventory management: Effective purchasing and restocking ensures needed pet food, medications, and supplies are in stock.
  • Billing/collections: Getting reimbursed by clients and insurance companies is vital for a financially healthy practice.
  • Marketing: Promoting their services and retaining clients is key for vets to fill appointment slots and grow.


So while you mainly see your family vet examining your pet, vet practices function like complex small businesses. Their wide-ranging services, staff expertise, and operational efficiency all work together behind the scenes to nurture the human-animal bond.


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