Making Veterinary Design User Friendly

WYSIWYG. We’ve all seen the acronym – “What You See Is What You Get”

When building my first website I came across this term. After doing a Google search to discover its meaning, I thought, “Well, that’s software I can use!”

Today WYSIWYG can be applied to architectural design software, but not in the same regard as website development. More accurately, we now have the tools to provide you, our veterinary clients, a peek inside and outside the veterinary facilities we’re developing before they are built. True, the talented veterinary architect and staff could previously render their veterinary design concepts meticulously by hand, but this could be both laborious and time-consuming. These renditions were typically from a particular vantage point and were limiting. When the client asked, “but what does it look like from here?” We would often wave our hands and futilely attempt a word picture. Building Information Modeling or BIM has changed that.

As veterinary design professionals, we are always looking for software to make our job simpler and more productive. We are endlessly seeking the graphic holy grail to effectively communicate how our design concepts are resolving our veterinary client’s needs and desires. In all areas of our lives we’ve seen how digital technology can be transformative. We’ve watched software applications evolve from the floppy disc to instantly deliverable applications on our ‘smart’ devices. No other technological advance has changed and is in the process of changing the architecture profession more than BIM. It is transforming the way we deliver our services. In short, when used to its potential, our veterinary clients experience WYSIWYG in a profound and often beneficial way:

  • More complete and accurate project visualization.
  • A means of delivering multiple solutions quickly and effectively.
  • Parametric documentation that reduces errors and ultimately costs.
  • Assists in identifying possible conflicts that may arise during building construction.
  • Construction sequencing analysis and potentially shortened project schedules.
  • Assists owners in making informed decisions about the proposed project earlier in the design process.

One of the maxims in the construction world is that a project owner may ask for cheaper, faster and better, but will only be able to get two of the three. The evidence from projects constructed utilizing a BIM methodology indicates that it is possible to deliver completed projects that are completed faster, are less expensive, and of higher quality.

BIM does not design veterinary clinics, that will likely always have a human component, but it does help to enhance the collaborative relationship between veterinary architect and veterinary client by providing a means to effectively communicate design solutions through a 3-dimensional data-rich model. Though BIM is helping to close the communication gap, inspiration will always be required to envision solutions to our client’s challenges. The table napkin will remain one of our most cherished tools.

Five Proven Ways to Obtain Discount Veterinary Services

Tired of paying full retail price for your pet’s veterinary care? You don’t have to if your veterinarian gives you a discount on his/her services. And just how do you get that discount? Here are five proven ways to go about it.

1. Shop For It

If you’re looking for discount veterinary services, pick up the phone book or log onto your computer and price shop the various clinics in your area. Inquire about any and all price breaks the practice may offer to select clients. For example, discounts are commonly offered to military personnel (active and retired), police officers, firefighters, multi-pet owners, senior citizens, and students. In addition, many vets will slash fees for rescue organizations, kennels, and people who foster pets.

2. Ask For It

Let’s say your veterinarian doesn’t offer a formal price concession on a particular product or service, yet you really don’t want to leave the practice to search for discount veterinary services elsewhere. What to do? Simple. Ask for a discount. For example, ask for a free heartworm test in exchange for purchasing a year supply of heartworm medication. You’ll be amazed at how many vets will jump at this “deal”.

Here’s an insider tip: Most veterinary practices maintain pet charity funds that the doctors can use to forgive all or part of a client’s bill. Veterinarians are very empathetic individuals. It’s the nature of the profession. Oftentimes, when a client is faced with a life-or-death decision involving a seriously injured or ill (yet curable) pet, finances will weigh heavily on that decision. In these instances, it’s not uncommon for the veterinarian in charge of the case to discount veterinary service fees in order to treat the pet and thereby avoid euthanasia. In the veterinarian’s mind, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

3. Work For It

For amazing veterinary discounts, consider working part-time or full-time at a veterinary clinic. Most hospitals and clinics offer price breaks to employees who have worked for the practice for a specified period of time. And those savings can be significant. For example, one clinic in Houston, Texas offers a 50% discount on vaccinations and heartworm preventative to employees after three months of work, and after five years of employment, all services are free and all medications are offered at cost. Not bad, huh?

As an added bonus, working for a vet will sharpen your knowledge and skills when it comes to veterinary care. You’ll learn how to assess a pet’s health status and learn techniques such as physical therapy, deep ear cleaning, giving injections, giving parenteral fluids, and other skills that you could conceivably apply to your own pet(s) at home. Not only that, for those with the entrepreneurial spirit, learning these new skills could very well open up a lucrative source of secondary income as a pet sitter or home hospice veterinary nurse.

4. Trade For It

There are two ways to trade for discount veterinary services. The first is through bartering. If you have a particular skill that could prove useful to your veterinarian, talk to him/her and see if you can set up some type of bartering arrangement. For example, do you have sales and marketing expertise? If you can offer your veterinarian practical tips on how to market and promote his/ her practice, a barter arrangement is probably only a handshake away. Are you a landscaper, carpenter, plumbing, or handy with tools? If so, you are a valuable asset to any business, especially a veterinary clinic. The possibilities are endless. Just ask.

A second way to trade for discount veterinary services is by volunteering at a veterinary practice. In other words, trade your sweat equity for a discount. It’s not uncommon for clinics to offer the same discounts to volunteers as they do to employees (the one in Houston does). Volunteer work can involve general practice maintenance, kennel help, technician work, accounting, or front office assistance. It’s a rewarding endeavor and one that can prove to be valuable even if you’re not receiving a paycheck.

5. Plan For It

Plan your pet’s elective health care procedures around discount veterinary initiatives promoted by national, state, and local municipalities and organizations. For instance, February is considered Pet Dental Health Month. Veterinarians usually offer nice price breaks (sometimes as high as 50%) on dental procedures during this month, so it makes sense to have your pet’s annual teeth cleaning done in February. Also, October is National Pet Wellness Month; many practices offer reduced fees on preventive health care during this initiative. And there’s more. March is Pet Nutrition Month, April is Heartworm Awareness Month, World Veterinary Day is usually the last Saturday in April, National Pet Week is in May, World Rabies Day is in the Fall…the list goes on.

In addition to these broad scale promotions, many counties and local municipalities hold periodic rabies drives, low cost spay/neuter clinics, and low-cost pet microchip clinics. The discounts on these veterinary services can be substantial, so contact your county or local health departments to find out when these special events are to be held.

There you have it. Five ways to land discount veterinary services. Applying this knowledge in your own quest for a price break can yield big dividends. By shopping for it, asking for it, working for it, trading for it, and planning for it, you’re sure to obtain a discount that will put a smile on your face!

Summer Vet Products

When we think of summer we think of the outdoors and fun with our pets. Then we think a little harder and remember the disagreeable side, such as insects and allergies as well as diseases spread by insects. You need to prepare to meet the onslaught with all the weapons available from your vet/pet care centre. You should get to know your area and what type of dangers your pet is likely to face.

Here are a few of the more common safeguards you need to consider to keep your pet happy and comfortable in summer:

• Annual booster shots. Make sure your pet’s injection regimen is up to date. Especially dogs and cats are more likely to come into contact with other animals, if you visit public places with them.

• De-worming. Worms multiply and mature quickly in the warmer season, and some eggs, such as tapeworm, are carried by fleas.

• Fleas, flies, midges, lice and in some areas, ticks. These carry disease, internal parasites and are unpleasant and harmful to all pets. You can find preparations, internal or external, for all these pests. For some of them injections can help, for others, collars or repellent sprays. There are a great many natural, herbal products available too.

• Allergies and skin diseases affect most animals that are susceptible or have a lowered immunity for some reason. Molds, pollens, insect excretions, certain foods, and great many other allergens affect animals just as they do humans. However in those animals that are vulnerable, allergic reactions most often manifest themselves in their coats and skins, but occasionally in other ways, such as asthma. There are many preparations to apply topically from veterinary preparations to herbal products. Sometimes antihistamines or corticosteroids are administered internally by mouth or injection. Food should always come under scrutiny and often a hypoallergenic diet is the answer.

• Water should always be available, but in summer you need to take into account how much more water your pet drinks. Special water dispenser tanks are available in a variety of shapes and sizes so that you can be sure the pet’s dish keeps topping up with nice fresh water no matter how much he drinks. It should be placed in a shady spot.

• Your pet’s coat. The longer your pet’s coat is the more care it should have. At the beginning of summer you will need to give a thorough grooming in order to remove the loose winter hairs. Brushes and combs of all descriptions are available to suit the texture of his coat. Dogs can be made much more comfortable by clipping or shaving if the heat is really intense, but cats normally don’t need this as they have the nack of seeking out the most comfortable spots for themselves. Other pets, especially if they are in cages or runs, should have access to plenty of shade, fresh air, and for some species, a shallow pond or dish of water to cool down in.

Keep a vigilant eye on your pet; get to know his habits, so that any deviation of his normal behaviour will be an early warning sign to you that something is not right. Enjoy the Summer!