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How do I start my own veterinary practice?

I plan to run my own veterinary practice and would like to know the steps to creating your own business.
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Ken’s Answer

Congratulations on wanting to set up your own business. During my many years in Human Resources, I have encountered this idea many times. What I have learned from experts is that it is best to start working with someone who already has an existing successful practice. Thus, the mistakes have been made and the successes have been realized. By becoming the best employee possible, many times a person, such as yourself, is able to become the major player in the business when the owner or principal person decides to retire and turn the business over to you or maybe make you a part owner along the way before that happens. This has been the story many times. For you to become more involved in this process, it would be a good idea for you, even as a student, to become involved in a practice as an intern or part time or summer worker. A good way to do that is to talk to the person at your school who works with graduates and arrange to meet, talk to, visit, shadow, and maybe even intern with a vet who is a graduate of your school. Your success in life is based upon your level of bravado. You could just approach a local vet, or maybe even the vet who cares for your pet, and ask about shadowing, interning, and part time and summer work.


Let me share an interesting story about internships:


During my daughter's senior year in high school, the highlight of the year (and of the whole high school experience) was to be a several month long internship program. Everyone signed up and indicated the type of internship that they wanted - all except for one girl. This girl wanted to become a doctor and wanted her internship to be with the local EMS unit at the local fire station. So, she talked to the head of the EMS unit and got his approval and made arrangements with the school to create her own internship. Of all of the students about which I heard, she was the one who benefited the most by her internships. My daughter's was definitely not the highlight of her school career. Her first choice fell through and her final assignment was not really what she wanted and did not give her the type of exposure that she had hoped for.


This shows that you can create your own internship! Locate a company that fits the parameters of the type of experience and exposure that you are seeking and work with them and the appropriate people in your school to put it in motion. After all, if there is an internship program existing today, anywhere, it had to be created by someone.

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David’s Answer

The best way to determine the steps for opening your on practice would be to start out interning or working at a number of different vet practices. This will provide you with insights in to what works well and what does not work in a practice. In addition I would find an experienced individual in the field to ask as a mentor.
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