The Business of Practice: Starting Your Own Equine Practice  

In this episode, Drs. Alexis Theiss and Matt Davis discussed how they started their own equine ambulatory practices.
An equine veterinarian in equine practice
Starting your own practice can feel intimidating, but it can lead to greater flexibility and satisfaction in your career. | Adobe Stock

In this episode of The Business of Practice podcast, we talked to Alexis Theiss, DVM, and Matt Davis, DVM, about how they recently started their own equine ambulatory practices. The veterinarians shared why they made their decisions, how they secured financing, challenges they encountered along the way, and more.  

Planning for Starting a New Equine Practice

When Theiss decided to open her own equine practice, she and her business partner wrote a list outlining everything they needed to accomplish before opening their doors. “Most important to us was a seamless transition,” she said.  

Davis didn’t write a business plan but met with an accountant and a business consultant. He also created a list of pros and cons of starting his own practice. “My wife encouraged me to do it on my own for years, but I was always afraid,” he shared.  

Davis said he was afraid of failure and being unable to support his family when he decided to start his own practice. Theiss spoke about the fear of loneliness. “I grew up as a veterinarian at the practice I left,” she said. “Leaving was sad and scary. I hadn’t ever been a veterinarian outside of that practice structure.” Ultimately, she said, it has been an incredibly good experience. 

Choosing a Practice Software

When choosing a practice software, Davis said he spoke to colleagues and arranged online demos of different options. “I didn’t speak to anyone who was overly excited about the software they were using. Everyone had frustrations,” he said. Theiss described how the office manager she and her partner hired for their new practice investigated software options for them and made a recommendation.  

Final Thoughts

The biggest surprise in the new equine practice was “how much time the nonveterinary stuff takes,” said Davis. For Theiss, “It was so much easier than I thought it was going to be!” 

The conversation with these two practice owners was full of great tips on managing a practice and creating boundaries that allow them greater flexibility in their lives. Wrapping up the conversation, the doctors offered words of encouragement for other veterinarians considering this career path. “There are those who are look before you leap and those that are leap before you look, and there are paths for both of them,” said Davis. Theiss said, “It’s important to remember that it’s going to be fine, and you will be okay!”  

If you have questions about starting a practice, you can reach Theiss at  

dratheiss@gmail.com and Davis at matthewdavisdvm@gmail.com.  

About Dr. Alexis Theiss 

Alexis Theiss, DVM, grew up in Virginia with three sisters and a variety of pets from horses to boa constrictors to exotic parrots. She learned to ride at a young age, competed on the local show circuit, participated in Pony Club, and taught children to ride at summer camps for several years. She also spent multiple summers working on a Thoroughbred breeding farm. Theiss graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in biology before attending the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, where she received her DVM in 2004. Theiss was an associate equine veterinarian at The Piedmont Equine Practice, in The Plains, Virginia, from 2004 until 2022. She then formed Paragon Equine with fellow veterinarian Jena Porto, DVM, in 2022. Theiss lives in Upperville, Virginia, on a horse farm with her husband, three kids, and an assortment of pets. 

About Dr. Matt Davis 

Matt Davis, DVM, received a BS in Biology from Olivet Nazarene University in 1998 and his DVM from the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2003. He completed an internship at Littleton Equine in Colorado, after which he practiced at Merritt & Associates Equine for a year. He then spent three years in Ohio at Firethorn Equine doing Standardbred racetrack practice. After that, Davis joined Saginaw Valley Equine for six years, followed by practicing at Countryside Veterinary Service for 10 years. He has a special interest in equine wound management and lameness problems affecting the performance horse, particularly lameness originating in the foot. In 2023, Davis formed Davis Equine LLC, based in Adrian, Michigan. He and his wife have three children. 

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