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Weekend Rounds – June 19 2022

Welcome back for another edition of Weekend Rounds.  This one is coming in a bit late and a bit shorter than usual due to Father’s Day festivities.  Please forgive us.

Whether you’re reading this Sunday evening or Monday morning, we hope you had a great weekend and you’re ready to tackle the week ahead.

Let’s get into it:
๐Ÿถ The MVMC thing
๐Ÿ‘€ No more bulldogs please
๐Ÿ’ฐ FTC steps in
โค๏ธ Client loyalty
๐Ÿ˜‚ Meme of the week

The MVMC Situation

In case you haven’t been glued to your social media feed and veterinary groups this past week, the most widespread news in the veterinary world this week is the series of events surrounding a surrendered puppy in Maine.

The cliff notes:

  • In May a puppy ate a skewer and required life saving care at MVMC in Scarborough Maine
  • The owners were provided an estimate of over $10,000 but unfortunately could not afford care
  • The puppy was surrendered to the clinic and received the needed care
  • The owners spoke with news station WGME and a story was written about the situation, vilifying the clinic 
  • The internet did its internet thing and threats were issued against the clinic
  • The clinic issued a statement correcting inaccuracies in the story
  • The news outlet doubled down on its story saying that there are no inaccuracies
  • Veterinarians on the internet did their internet thing, some good, some bad
    • The good – defending our colleagues against abuse
    • The bad – rhetoric around “owning an animal is a privilege not a right”

This situation with a surrendered pet is one of the worst in veterinary medicine. No one feels good, and our goal is always to help the pet.  But the situation has catalyzed some thoughtful responses. 

In an article from from DVM360 Stephen Cital is quoted saying  “How many of us, especially [veterinary technicians] could afford an $8000 expense for our collection of special needs animals we tend to adopt without the generous payment plans or discounts we get as an employee?”

Danielle Lambert (Snout School) posted on LinkedIn:

“I don’t have all the answers, but I know we need to be open to things like:

-Trying out different payment methods (eg: pet savings accounts, etc)
-Educating our communities about the cost of care
-Offering a spectrum of care
-Being clear on who our ideal client is and what they can afford
-Fostering positive team cultures that want to collaborate with pet owners
-Ending the practice of having pet owners surrender pets to us because they can’t pay, only to then give a team member a discount on the pet’s care”

MVMC did nothing wrong.  But this is a great opportunity to reflect on how surrenders happen and what options we offer clients.  Are there ways we can make care more accessible for people?

And the Press Herald published two op-eds evaluating the situation.  You can read them here and here.

How does your clinic handle surrenders or cases of unaffordable care? 

Reply and let us know if you have any strategies you want to share.

Stories of the Week

Veterinarian of the year and wellbeing take center stage at Westminster [AP News]

VetCompass study highlights health challenges of bulldogs and makes global news [CNN]

FTC orders JAB Consumer Partners to Divest from Clinics in California and Texas as a condition of acquiring SAGE [FTC]

AVMA’s keys to client Loyalty [AVMA]

Meme of the week

meme that says "the perfect t-shirt does not ex... and then a picture of a man with a shirt reading 'introverted but willing to discuss cats'"
Where can I buy this…

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