Veterinary services related to reproduction, genetics and herd records are among those that increase annual gross income the most in veterinary practices, says Brad White, DVM, Associate Professor of Production Medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University.

Consider a 2009 study conducted by White; fellow veterinarian Dan Goehl, DVM of Canton Veterinary Clinic in Missouri; and Amy Brusk, a Grant Specialist in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University.

White explains the ups and down of gross practice income per veterinarian (GPIV) is routinely monitored. What rarely occurs, he says, is evaluating what parts of the practice are related to more or less gross income growth. That was the aim of the study.

In round numbers, responses from veterinarians in 21 states—those with cow-calf services accounting for at least 40 percent of their practice income—indicate the five-year increase in GPIV was 7.2 percent. For practices spending more than 10 percent of their time helping clients with records, the average increase in GPIV was 13.3 percent. For those spending more than 10 percent of their time on genetic consulting, the average increase in GPIV was 12.7 percent.

“Increased practice growth rate associated with these specific professional services may be indicative of genetic counseling and herd record keeping being high value-generating activities,” White says. “Increasing the amount of veterinary time toward professional services that generate a higher net income is likely a contributing factor to higher growth rates.”

White says the genetic consulting in the study refers to everything from heifer development to genetic selection. Also, keep in mind the sample size is small, though White believes it is representative.

“I think there are obviously some opportunities,” White says. “It’s a matter of recognizing the opportunity to sit down with a client, look at their records and goals and work together to develop a management plan to achieve those goals (see Hub Wise, page 24). It’s a matter of asking what you can provide that will benefit both your client and you.”