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Results of a survey to determine demographic and business management factors associated with size and growth rate of rural mixed-animal veterinary practices

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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.
  • | 3 Canton Veterinary Clinic, 30182 Pear St, Canton, MO 63435.
  • | 4 Department of Agricultural Economics, College of Agriculture, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

Abstract

Objective—To determine potential associations between demographic and business management factors and practice size and growth rate in rural mixed-animal veterinary practices.

Design—Cross-sectional survey.

Participants—54 mixed-animal practitioners.

Procedures—A cross-sectional survey (96 questions) was electronically disseminated. Responses were collected, and outcomes (number of veterinarians [NV], growth in number of veterinarians [NVG], gross practice income [GPI], growth in gross practice income [GPIG], gross practice income per veterinarian [GPIV], and growth in gross practice income per veterinarian [GPIVG]) were calculated. Bivariate analyses were performed and multivariable models created to determine associations between survey responses and outcomes of interest.

Results—Survey respondents were from mixed-animal practices, and most (46/54 [85.2%]) practiced in small communities (< 25,000 people). Study practices had a median ± SD NV of 2.3 ± 1.9 veterinarians, median GPI of $704,547 ± 754,839, and median GPIV of $282,065 ± 182,344. Multivariable regression analysis revealed several factors related to practice size, including the number of associate veterinarians and veterinary technicians in the practice, service fee structure, and employment of a business manager. Typically, practices had positive mean growth in NVG (4.4%), GPIG (8.5%), and GPIVG (8.1%), but growth rate was highly variable among practices. Factors accociated with growth rate included main species interest, frequency for adjusting prices, use of a marketing plan, service fee structure, and sending a client newsletter.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Mixed-animal practices had a large range in size and growth rate. Economic indices were impacted by common business management practices.

Contributor Notes

This manuscript represents a portion of a thesis submitted by the senior author to the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University Graduate School as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master's in Agribusiness degree.

Supported by the Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University.

The authors thank Dale Grotelueschen, John Seeger, and Gerry Stokka for assistance with design and conduct of the survey.

Address correspondence to Dr. White (bwhite@vet.ksu.edu).