"Having kids changed being an equine vet for me quite a bit," said Dr. Amanda McCleery, who owns McCleery Equine Veterinary Services in Florida. "I probably worked too much early in my career, but when I had my little boy, I wanted to be home to feed him dinner and give him baths at least some times. I wanted to be there for my husband. My practice had grown to the point where it was busy and there were emergencies every evening."
McCleery created an emergency cooperative with five other solo practitioners in 2017.
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"Without the emergency cooperative, I would be missing so much of my life that's important to me ... my job's important to me, but my family is important to me, too," she said. "And if it came down and I had to choose, I would want to be there for them. So, I would have to choose a career that would allow me to be home on a more consistent basis or to have a more predictable schedule."
After getting to know each other as individual practitioners and how each practice operates, the solo practitioners (some of which had large animals as well as equine) had an owner education event to show them a united front and introduce the concept and people to their clients.
She said that while they agreed that no one would "own" the clients they served, the also recognized that some clients might "get along better" with another veterinarian. In that case, the client got to pick the veterinarian and everyone else was good with that client's decision.
She said pricing among the solo veterinarians was similar enough that it has not been a problem.
To learn more tips and insights on how McCleery and the other vets have made this emergency cooperative work, listen to the podcast.
The Business of Practice podcast
is brought to you by Dechra Veterinary Products.