Friday, September 2, 2011

577. Dog breeders in Singapore and parvoviruses killing puppies

"$280 for a Caesarean section of a dog is money-losing," I said to Dr Vanessa today. "I will like you to stop accepting any new breeder business." Whether she accepts my advice or not, time will tell.

In any business, it is best not to work for free or at a loss as money is needed to pay for good staff and replacement. I visited a new veterinary surgery recently. "How come the operating table is an old human operating table with pads?"

The vet said: "It is too expensive to buy the Shoreline veterinary operating table as it costs $7,000". I bought one to replace the old one. This specialised table has a grove in the middle to catch the blood and urine.

Using a human operating table for dog operations is not practical because the blood spills over the sides. In human hospitals in Singapore, there are many nurses and staff to suck out any fluid or blood. But this is not economical in a small vet practice.

In any case, a Shoreline operating table makes veterinary surgery so much more comfortable and pleasant.

To get such tools, the practice cannot afford to be offering free and cheap services to dog breeders as there will not be time to service the private clients and to earn a decent income to buy appropriate tools such as a veterinary operating table, electro-surgical equipment and anaesthetic machines.

This means that I don't accept dog breeders and pet shop operators for the past years as they make the vet work practically for nothing considering the time spent in treating their parvoviral puppies and the need to disinfect and prevent diseases in the practice.

I will put my foot down if my associate vets keep taking in new breeder clients as the practice needs to focus on providing excellent services to the private clients. There is just certain hours in a day and breeders and pet shop operators demand a lot of free consultations and time. Sometimes, I wonder how the other vets catering to breeders can sustain the profitablility of their practice.

At one time, I was serving several big breeders charging $10/vaccination at the farm because the previous vet had his licence suspended and I happened to be at the right place at the right time when a big breeder asked me to service his farm. $10/vaccine was sold to the breeders by this vet without having to go to the farm. I had earlier offered $15.00 and was unsuccessful.

Doing the dog breeder business meant travelling time of over one hour would not being billed. The hope is that new puppy buyers would come and visit me when they need a 3rd vaccination.

Soon, two younger lady vets came to Pasir Ris breeding farms with an offer no sensible dog breeder could refuse. $6.00 per vaccination from the eventual successful young lady vet finally wiped out all the other vets. However, there was another investor who used to bring his vet along in his car, after soliciting the vaccination business from the breeders and pet shops. His rate was lower than me, maybe at $8.00 but higher than the $6.00. I think he was also vanquished.

I exited the breeder's business and spent time with the interesting private clients. Those stay with the vet if the services are good and results are shown although they do stray, as for all service providers.

Today, a 16-year-old Fox Terrier owner and his two daughters now grown up to be in their late 20s came specifically to consult me as he had met me many years ago. It is a continuity and a pleasure to see his two daughters equal to him as adults and making decisions. However, they defer to the father's wishes to consult me and had to take leave from work to do that. I got a dog transport man to bring the dog in. Father and two daughters and a dog and a driver in a small van. It was fun to meet them again after all these years.

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