Pros and Cons of a Corporate Veterinary Clinic – A Doctor’s Perspective

Pros and Cons of a Corporate Veterinary Clinic – A Doctor’s Perspective

( By Corinna Underwood

The veterinary profession is changing and growing. Currently, there are two types of veterinary clinics, one is a corporate clinic, the other is a private practice. The difference between the two will determine how each one operates, which vets want to work there, and which each patient prefers for their pets.

What is a Corporate Veterinary Clinic?

A corporate animal hospital typically has multiple offices throughout a particular region or even throughout the country. They are owned by a single entity. Each corporate clinic employs several Doctors in Veterinary Medicine and a range of assistants such as vet assistants, vet techs, and receptionists.

The policies and procedures practiced at corporate animal hospitals are usually standardized across the board. The types of veterinary care offered will be the same at each clinic within the corporation. A dedicated corporate office will handle the business side of the practice.


What is a Private Veterinary Clinic?

A private practice is one owned by one or more veterinarians. The veterinarians are responsible for managing their business practices and deciding which types of pets they will treat and which treatments they will offer.

Private veterinarians may still employ vet assistants and other staff to help run their practice.

The Pros and Cons of a Corporate Clinic

Dr. Jeff Werber has been practicing veterinary medicine for more than 35 years and he’s worked in both corporate and private clinics. His main concern about corporate veterinary clinics is that they run the risk of making their practices so much alike that they restrict vets’ individuality.

“It certainly depends on the corporation, but I think it’s crucial for vets to do their due diligence. I am very against corporations that aim to make their organization so uniform, that the individual vets lose any and all individualism. I call it “doc in the box”. They take away the ability to individualize your practice. That is my biggest objection,” explains Dr. Jeff.


Other disadvantages of corporate animal clinics include:

  • Hours of practice: A vet’s opening hours may be restricted by the clinic’s location. For example, if it is situated within a mall, it can only offer services during the mall’s opening hours. Furthermore, vet clinics in retail spaces are often required to open seven days a week.
  • Emergency vet services: With the increase in specialized emergency vet services, the need for vets to take after-hours calls is becoming increasingly less common. In the case of corporate vet clinics, all after-hours emergency calls are referred to an external clinic. There do exist some freestanding corporate clinics that take their own emergency calls.
  • Salary variations: For new vets just starting out, the pay will vary depending on the location as well as the type of practice. Corporate vet clinics do not necessarily pay more than private clinics. So, it would be wrong to assume that patients automatically get better service at a corporate clinic.

The Advantages of a Private Veterinary Clinic

Although many pet owners may prefer corporate clinics because of their convenient locations, private animal hospitals have their advantages. These include:

  • Get to know your vet: If you visit your local vet every time your pet needs a vaccine, check-up, or treatment, you will usually see the same animal doctor. This allows your pet to familiarize with your vet. Familiarity can reduce your pet’s anxiety and stress when it comes time for vet visits.


  • Enjoy a smaller practice: A smaller practice can often mean more personalized care. At private vet clinics, staff often have a little extra time to take care of you and your pet. This can make you feel much more at home than in a corporate clinic in a retail store where time is limited.
  • See your vet sooner: Visiting a local vet reduces the time it takes you to reach your appointment. This can be very important if your pet is sick or injured and every minute counts. You can also profit from cancellations at your local vet if you need a last-minute appointment.
  • Meet other local animal parents: Meeting other pet parents is a great way to make new friends. What’s more, you can also find out about the coolest dog parks, cat sitters, and you can arrange pet playdates.