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Anyone in the veterinary care space? Where is the need?

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Ernie McCracken

New Contributor
Sep 2, 2017
16
11
39
Seattle, WA
I just scheduled my dog for TPLO knee surgery to the tune of $5900 ouch ouch ouch. My poor dog and my poor wallet. Apparently it's very common and the surgery center has 5 surgeons operating full time, doing dozens of these per week. They are booked out for weeks despite a crap website and near zero marketing. I know labor and facility costs can be high, but think about the top line revenue of just this one facility. Extrapolate that to the other 20+ facilities in just my city and we're talking big $$$.

My vet told me that surgeries/treatments that used to cost $1500-$3000 (and people would routinely decline) are now double or triple that because who is going to say no? Gone are the days of the humble community vet. Vets are quietly raking it in.

Pet cancer treatment, too. Total goldmine. People will take out crazy credit, sell their vehicles, put off their own healthcare, et al. even if it only extends their pet's life for a few months. Demand is inelastic, to say the least.

It's not a market I typically associate with entrepreneurs other than the owners themselves. There has to be a way to carve out a little piece in the ocean of vet care money. What avenues do you think are worth investigating?
 
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Scot

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Gone are the days of the humble community vet. Vets are quietly raking it in.

Sigh...

Average salary of a Vet in Florida is $65k/ year. Their medical school costs as much if not more than human medical school.

Veterinarian Salary in Florida, Florida | PayScale

Vets are not quietly raking anything in. They’re quietly drowning in debt and essentially working poor.

Follow up. Cost of knee replacement in human med is $50k+

What You Need to Know About the Cost of Knee Replacement Surgery

So, trust me, vets are not making money on TPLO’s.
 

Ernie McCracken

New Contributor
Sep 2, 2017
16
11
39
Seattle, WA
So, trust me, vets are not making money on TPLO’s.

Well, I should have said the owners are making bank. Mine does dozens per week at a price of $5500+. He owns his practice and terms of outward signs of wealth (two 7 figure properties, car collection, et al), he appears to be far from working poor.
 

Scot

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Well, I should have said the owners are making bank. Mine does dozens per week at a price of $5500+. He owns his practice and terms of outward signs of wealth (two 7 figure properties, car collection, et al), he appears to be far from working poor.

Being a practice owner of a well performing practice/group is really the only way to make any money in the veterinary field.

For reference, my wife is a vet. Her student loans from a public university are $250k+ and she makes $70k/year and is considered one of the highest paid vets from her graduating class.

Also, most procedures like a TPLO typically dont make much more than a 10% margin.
 
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Ernie McCracken

New Contributor
Sep 2, 2017
16
11
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Seattle, WA
Being a practice owner of a well performing practice/group is really the only way to make any money in the veterinary field.

For reference, my wife is a vet. Her student loans from a public university are $250k+ and she makes $70k/year and is considered one of the highest paid vets from her graduating class.

Also, most procedures like a TPLO typically dont make much more than a 10% margin.

That is really surprising. How do these places earn millions in revenue per month, pay labor relatively low wages, and still make such weak margins on surgery?

I'm sure it has a lot to do with the area, too. People in high COL areas probably pay 2x what everyone else does. Can't imagine people in the midwest or south lining up for $6k dog surgeries like we do here.
 

Scot

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That is really surprising. How do these places earn millions in revenue per month, pay labor relatively low wages, and still make such weak margins on surgery?

I'm sure it has a lot to do with the area, too. People in high COL areas probably pay 2x what everyone else does. Can't imagine people in the midwest or south lining up for $6k dog surgeries like we do here.

You're probably having the surgery done by a board certified orthepedic surgeon, which does cost more money.

You're also factoring in radiographs, anesthesia, anesthesiologist (depending on the facility), post operative care, post operative pain control. Wife did say $5k did seem a little high, but she has no clue what cost of care is in Seattle. The university hospital she trained at typically charged $4k.

The thing people don't realize is, medical care is stupid expensive. You're not only paying money for the high dollar equipment, you're paying for the trained staff it requires to practice good medicine. You're paying for sedation and anesthesia (which is not cheap). But, for humans, you have health insurance. Sure, you may see a bill for $1,200.. but you don't see the $45,000 the insurance company paid to the hospital/physician. Because there is no payment assistance like this in vet med, the costs seem high, but are in realty very bare bones cost.

Most veterinary practices break even on all the veterinary care they do and make their money on boarding and grooming.
 

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