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Profile Photo dogtor6
  Veterinarian, ACVR

2 years ago

It's the big news of the day. What do you think deals like this mean to the average practicing vet or vet student?

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dujo 8
  Veterinarian, ACVS

2 years ago

My immediate thought is we should all figure out a way to join forces and stop the corporate world....particularly a candy bar company from monopolizing and taking away our profession. Today is a sad day for the veterinary world. They are trying to buy us all and we all seem content to let it happen. #boycottmars

In reply to dujo

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emergdoc 5
  Veterinarian

2 years ago

Very sad day indeed. I am with you 100%. Where do i sign up?
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roofrazz 5
Vet Tech (Not Credentialed)

2 years ago

I work at a VCA hospital, and I can tell you all of us are VERY concerned
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Mollycvt 3
Veterinary Technician (RVT, CVT, LVT)

2 years ago

As do I roofrazz. We're concerned too....
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Steve 5
  Veterinarian, ACVIM

2 years ago

At this point, is there any indication of how they're going to run their hospitals or how they're going to be branded?
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DrNess 5
  Veterinarian

2 years ago

As big of a presence as they are, I read an article that says they only have about 10% of the veterinary practice market. It's a large % for one corporation but it's not a takeover of our profession by any means.

In reply to DrNess

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emergdoc 5
  Veterinarian

2 years ago

VCA is huge. They started in 1986 ? buying a practice then a lab. Then just more and more of both. Deals with pet food companies to sell their food in those hospitals. They bought Sound, Eklin, a pharma company, a media company. Not to mention AVC and the 44 hospitals it owned in Canada. My personal fave. Not! VCA has created a large company with its hands in alot of important axillary pots. So does Mars. Not just all the crappy brands of pet food it makes (sorry if that offends anyone) and Banfield. It has alot of other holdings in the pet industry as well. With purchasing VCA, Mars tenacles are going to be deep within and throughout all facets of the veterinary profession. I think thats more foreboding and indicative of things to come than them owning almost 2000 clinics. I feel like it'll be like the HMO's of vet med. Just way seedier.
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emergdoc 5
  Veterinarian

2 years ago

Sorry if any comments about VCA are offensive to anyone who works there. Its not about techs or vets who work there so pls dont be offended. Just not a fan of non veterinarian owned corporate medicine. Dislike VCA was started by non vets and all that $ has gone in mgmt pockets. Also dislike the kickback practices the company engages in. Thats illegal in human medicine. It should be in ours too, its unethical and makes us look sketchy. I see those practices only intensifying with Mars at the helm.
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eahdvm2008 6
Veterinarian

2 years ago

Since Mars bought Banfield in 2007 every single change they have made both within Banfield, and for how Banfield is a part of the profession-at-large, has been for the better. They plan to continue with VCA operating as a separate entity out of their Los Angeles offices. They aren't rebranding anything, as has also been the case for Blue Pearl and Pet Partners, which Mars also owns.

In reply to eahdvm2008

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emergdoc 5
  Veterinarian

2 years ago

Thousands of customer complaints and reviews. Class action lawsuits for deceptive marketing practices and deceptive & coercive upselling. Companies that collect data on employee submitted satisfaction, consistently rate Banfield poorly around 50-60%. These are all verifiable facts. These numbers reflect widespread dissatisfaction with Banfield / Mars and the way it conducts business. For better or worse VCA doesnt have these issues, at least not to this magnitude. I'm sorry if you dont agree or are offended. But i stand my ground that Mars is an absolutely horrible thing to happen to VCA and this profession. I'll get off my soapbox now
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dogtor 6
  Veterinarian, ACVR

2 years ago

It's hard for me to come up with reasons why such a huge merger would be good for the profession whether we are talking about pet owners, vets/techs, or practice owners. If one company owns roughly 2000 out of 16k small animal clinics, I think 1 out of 8 is enormous

In reply to dogtor

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Dirty Margin 3
  Veterinarian

2 years ago

As a specialist in a metropolitan area within an owner-operated center, we have 4 competing specialty hospitals in the region. 2 were recently purchased by Bluepearl and the other 2 are VCA clinics. It certainly feels like a major consolidation of influence/ power in our space

In reply to Dirty Margin

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yhoundeh 3
Veterinarian

2 years ago

Not to mention the whole IDEXX vs Antech business

In reply to Dirty Margin

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CatMom5 4
Veterinarian

2 years ago

Blue Pearl is technically Banfield and I guess that actually means Mars. Sigh. We already have seen their caliber diminished and slacking.

In reply to CatMom5

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HobieUtah 5
Veterinary Technologist (RVT, CVT, LVT)

2 years ago

BluePearl is not Banfield. The companies are completely separate. Banfield doctors aren't even required to refer to BluePearl.
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Brett Setser 1
Veterinarian

2 years ago

If veterinarian and vet students wish to stop the corporate takeover pass on the 85,000 a yr they offer new grads with no experience and relocation fees...

In reply to Brett Setser

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Bluemoose157 2
  Veterinary Student

2 years ago

I'm not interested in working for a corporate practice when I graduate, but that is a very tempting number when considering the average debt load of a new grad...
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Emily91 2
Veterinary Student

2 years ago

They are obviously very efficient business people. My first year of uni in a different degree was excellent. I felt cared for, I felt important, I felt as though I mattered and that my uni wanted what was best for students. Huge variety of resources, plenty of mentors, helpful lecturers, less students per teacher, many pracs where we could practice and practice methods. We have a new vice Chancellor who is saving the uni millions and millions of $$$$. Now we have 1mentor per 18ppl instead of 9, good lecturers have been let go, good technicians gone. She is now running my uni like a business, which looks great on paper, but in reality I can feel the difference.

In reply to Emily91

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Emily91 2
Veterinary Student

2 years ago

Meaning Mars will be good for business, but not good for the profession
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CatMom5 4
Veterinarian

2 years ago

Unfortunately our field is becoming more corporate everyday and eventually the mom and pop clinics will be outnumbered. I see the changes everyday. We're small corporate ran by a company that knows little to nothing about the medical field in general. They simply want to make money, that is all. There's NVA, AZ PET VET, MARS, VCA (singularly until now), Our local ER with its few branches got bought out by Banfield (which is Mars also?). We've already seen the repercussions of this in a negative way with client complaints, lack of record transfer, decrease care, etc, but if you want 8 rads of the body for a limping dog fantastic!!! It's horribly disgusting and sad. The only thing we can hope is that the single clinics, privately owned will be more cost affordable. However, if they are responsible for the spay/neuter clinics then we're screwed.
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HobieUtah 5
Veterinary Technologist (RVT, CVT, LVT)

2 years ago

I work for a BluePearl that was privately owned when I started. We were acquired by BluePearl before Mars purchased BluePearl. I was very skeptical about what would happen under each of the changes. What has happened is this: wages have increased, benefits have increased, support is exponentially better, there is a massive network of support and collaboration. There is ZERO influence on how we practice medicine, there is no requirement to carry or recommend Mars products, and no preferential treatment when we work with a Banfield. I truly considered walking away when I heard we were being bought by Mars because I consider myself anti-"corporate medicine," but there has been practically no change on the floor, and anything we have seen has been positive. I am also now part of a national network with almost unlimited possibilities for promotion and upward mobility which no private practice I've worked in the past 20 years has been able to offer me.
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emergdoc 5
  Veterinarian

2 years ago

Im sorry you didnt feel you were appropriately compensated in private practice. But you did choose the field despite knowledge it wasnt a high paying field. Nobody forced you. Private practice doesnt have the deep pockets of corporate coffers. But while you may feel corporate medicine is good for yourself and veterinary medicine, many of the 75000 veterinarians across the USA and Canada have no desire to be part of it or end up in a position where we're pushed out bc of it. It costs up to $200,000 to become a vet. I'm still paying that off. Its many years of school and alot of work to become a vet. We ought to have the right to open our own practices if we choose. Or run existing ones without fear of undue and unfair competition. This is a regulated profession afterall. We shouldnt have to take a backseat to a company that made its fortune off chocolate. In states and provinces where non veterinary ownership is not permitted, some of these transactions are not legal and could be challenged. I plan to challenge it in Ontario. Someone suggested this will represent a 1 in 10 corporate ownership. There are Antitrust laws in the usa and i believe a merger this size triggers those laws IF someone stands up and challenges it. I think there is more than 1 reason that could be found to start a Class Action suit or other mass legal action. Lawyers take on those cases without costs to the persons initiating it (class action) or contingency. It was never going to happen by the private practices that wanted to sell to the corporations. But US vets opposed to the corporate takeover of the profession could potentially stop it and the merger. But once this merger goes thru in October ? those windows will close. And in 20 yrs, it wont be 1 in 10, it'll be 1 in 5. Somebody really ought to approach a lawyer.
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Dr. Shuykin 3
Veterinarian

1 year ago

The quality of Banfield hospitals has severely decreased lately. Pretty much 7 out of 10 second opinion cases showing up at my practice that have gone horribly wrong come from Banfield. I just shake my head when I review those cases... some patients have recovered successfully after appropriate care, for others have been too late...

In reply to Dr. Shuykin

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eahdvm2008 6
Veterinarian

1 year ago

You can not make this type of blanket statement about nearly 1000 hospitals. I have the same experience from private GP clients when I render second opinions as well. We all went to the same relatively few schools and we are all only human.
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Veepveep 2
Other

1 year ago

Thank you everyone for you input and personal experiences with these corporations. I find it very interesting as I was thinking about working for VCA.
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CatMom5 4
Veterinarian

1 year ago

I have seen a significant drop in follow through, client and patient care, and increasing numbers of complaints from my clients that go to Blue Pearl. I am forever waiting for records or having to learn days later my patient was seen at BP. For the tech with the increased pay, good for you, sadly ALL that may have come at a price to our clients and patients, those that keep us employed.

In reply to CatMom5

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eahdvm2008 6
Veterinarian

1 year ago

That's one hospital. That can happen whether privately owned or corporate. Hell, the vet school in my area is the worst of all the referral hospitals (of which there are several) about communicating with the primary DVM.

In reply to eahdvm2008

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CatMom5 4
Veterinarian

1 year ago

True, but we've heard the same all over AZ and CA. It's not just communication with rDVM as stated above. Our privately run clinic is now also run by corporate and yes, we still practice medicine the same, but there are numerous slow changes that have happened over the last 3 years, it's slow, perhaps you aren't seeing it yet. Perhaps you are one of the lucky clinics. The turn over rate is also much higher in my experience. Wonder why?