Veterinarians Wear Many Hats
by: Dr. Amanda Glew
During the process of opening a brand new veterinary clinic, you learn many things about your colleagues and friends. The Timberlea Veterinary Clinic is truly a community effort. I have found out that accountants make pretty good painters, phys-ed teachers are handy with grouting, and of course, vets and technicians can put up gyproc and screws when needed. Nurses make great cakes. Even clients have helped out, cleaning toilets and mopping floors. When you have a lawyer walking around with a hammer, you know things are really rolling!
Last Saturday we had our final run to open up the doors for the first spay/neuter clinic to be held in its new location, after having moved from 442 Decarie, and prior to that, Vanier College. It was a mad scramble to organize surgery, make the consultation rooms presentable, have the boutique operational, and even correct the logistics of the interact machine. We had a small clinic, with about 30 animals.
On Monday we were open for regular business, seeing our first clients, and working out the kinks. Both Isabelle (Dr. Cote) and myself realize that after 4 months of NOT being real vets (well, I still teach, and she saw clients at my little clinic in St Laurent), you are a little less efficient, so we were thankful we had 40 minute appointments to get back into the groove. But like riding a bike, we are slowly fine tuning our clinic to be everything we want.
Many colleagues are in shock that we are running a low cost clinic within a regular clinic. However, our philosophy is that every animal owner should be allowed basic veterinary care – regardless of their financial situation. A vaccine, a deworming, and sterilization. It is our mission statement. So we feel routine dentistry, core vaccines and sterilizations should be offered at prices most can afford. For the rest, we encourage people to get insurance for the unexpected. As I am willing to tell anyone, it is better medicine to have pre-operative blood tests (would you undergo a general anesthesia without one?); it is better to have IV fluids during surgery; it is better to hip xrays for dogs pre-disposed to dysplasia so one can plan during an anesthesia; it is better to have one dedicated technician to follow your animal throughout the procedure. But if you can’t afford this, then the spay/neuter clinic will get the job done.
What I am hoping is that this new idea will catch on. I am surely not going to be popular with my colleagues, but I am pretty thick skinned. And if it does, then if other clinics want to copycat, I will be happy to show them how to set up an efficiently run low cost clinic. If all clinics did this once per month, maybe, just maybe, people would not use the excuse of not having their animal sterilized because it is too expensive.
(Join the Timberlea Vet Clinic on Facebook! – ed.)