Vet and dog

Veterinary Lease Basic Provisions

Although some veterinarians own the buildings in which they practice, many choose to lease office space. Successfully negotiating a veterinary lease requires specific experience and knowledge because—unlike home leases—commercial leases can be quite complicated. Therefore, before negotiating a veterinary lease, you should contact an experienced veterinary attorney for assistance. In this article, we examine common provisions that are typically included in veterinary leases. 


A key veterinary lease provision is one that addresses the calculation of rent. A key distinction to understand regarding the calculation of rent in a veterinary lease is the difference between rentable square feet and usable square feet. Usable square feet is the actual size of the space being rented. Rentable square feet, however, combines useable square feet and a percentage of the square feet of common areas, such as hallways, lobbies, elevators, and stairways. The rate used in veterinary leases is usually based on rentable square feet. 

In addition, veterinary leases are usually triple net leases, which means that the practice will also be responsible for paying insurance, taxes, and maintenance fees for the space and a percentage of the common areas. 


If the space being leased was not previously used as a veterinary office, then renovations may be necessary. The details of such renovations are included in the lease. Although this can be expensive, it is often necessary to make a space useable. With the assistance of a veterinary attorney, however, the manager of a property may agree pay some of the expenses associated with renovating the property or agree to a short-term rent abatement.  

Options for Renewal 

A veterinary practice’s location is crucial to its success. Therefore, it is imperative to negotiate renewal options in a veterinary lease. Including options for renewal in a veterinary lease will potentially allow a practice to remain in one location for many years. 

Exclusive Use

When a veterinarian leases space in a building or complex with multiple tenants, the lease should include a provision that forbids the landlord from leasing space to competitors. This is because the presence of other veterinarians in the same complex can negatively impact a practice’s value.

Assignment and Release

Finally, to protect a practice’s value in the event of a sale, a veterinary lease should include a provision that allows the practice owner to assign the lease to a buyer and releases the owner from liability under the lease following the completion of the transaction.

Contact Our Experienced Veterinary Attorneys 

If you are looking to lease a space for your veterinary practice, Mahan Law is here to help. At Mahan Law, we provide advice and counsel to established veterinary practices and startups nationwide. Founding attorney Anthony Mahan routinely collaborates with co-counsel attorneys who negotiate commercial leases on behalf of veterinary practice owners in real estate markets throughout the country. Therefore, regardless of your location, we can help you secure a space for your veterinary practice.  Please contact us to schedule a consultation with a veterinary lease attorney.

Veterinarian on her ipad

Three Types of Insurance Veterinarians Should Consider

As providers of medical services, veterinarians are under the constant threat of litigation and disciplinary action. Fortunately, there are multiple types of insurance available to veterinarians that provide protection against these types of situations. In this article, we examine three types of insurance veterinarians should consider.  

Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance protects and defends veterinarians against allegations of negligence in the delivery of veterinary services. There are three main types of professional liability insurance policies:

Individual: This type of insurance policy provides protection to a single veterinarian.

Group: Under a group policy, the entire veterinary practice is the named insured. This type of policy usually covers the entire practice and all its staff members and veterinarians. When a practice has a group policy, individual policies are not required. 

Business: A business policy is similar to a group policy, but license defense, professional liability, and animal bailee coverages are included.

License Defense Insurance 

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for an event to occur that places a veterinarian’s license in jeopardy. Depending on the state, possible disciplinary measures levied against veterinarians may include fines, license suspension, or license revocation. Therefore, it is imperative for veterinarians to defend themselves against state licensing board complaints. This is where license defense insurance comes in handy. This type of insurance covers legal expenses incurred when a veterinarian defends a complaint that is brought by a state licensing board. The coverage is usually either part of a professional liability insurance policy or a separate endorsement. 

Animal Bailee Insurance

Finally, animal bailee insurance is a type of coverage that is designed to protect a veterinary practice if an animal is killed or injured while in its custody, care, or control. This type of coverage is often subject to a deductible, whereas the above two types of insurance are not. 

Common types of animal bailee insurance policies include: 

Individual: This is typically offered as a third optional component for single veterinarians after license defense and professional liability coverage.

Group: This is similar to the individual coverage discussed above, but it applies to the entire practice. 

Business: Finally, this type of policy is typically incorporated into an overall liability and commercial property insurance policy. 

Examples of scenarios in which animal bailee coverage may apply include:  

  • A natural disaster
  • A fire
  • A fight between animals
  • An animal’s escape
  • An issue involving a corral, cage, or fenced area

Contact Our Experienced Veterinary Attorneys 

Veterinarians face unique risks and challenges. So, as a veterinarian, in addition to carrying adequate insurance, you should work with an experienced veterinary attorney to help limit your risks of litigation and disciplinary action. As longtime veterans of the veterinary business, the experienced professionals of Mahan Law are dedicated to helping veterinarians lower their risk exposure through the design of well-crafted agreements and proactive policies. Please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation with a talented veterinary attorney.

Owner running veterinary practice

5 Tips for Starting Your Own Veterinary Practice

For many veterinarians, practice ownership is the ultimate goal. When you own a veterinary practice, you can set your own hours, develop your own policies and procedures, hire your own staff, and control your own destiny. In other words, practice ownership offers veterinarians many benefits. In this article, we discuss five tips for starting your own veterinary practice. 

#1: Get Comfortable as a Practitioner 

Although some veterinarians go into business for themselves immediately upon finishing veterinary school, it’s generally a good idea to get some experience first. Therefore, if you’re a new veterinarian, you should work for a few years before starting your own practice. This will give you an opportunity to develop your skills while observing the operations of an established veterinary practice. 

#2: Develop Business Skills

Although veterinary school prepares you to become a veterinarian, it doesn’t generally provide you with the business skills necessary to run your own practice. Therefore, it is recommended that you learn some basic business skills before venturing out on your own. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you need to go to business school. There are plenty of resources out there from which to learn basic business skills, such as books and online courses. 

#3: Do Your Research

When it comes to opening a veterinary practice, location is key. Therefore, after getting some experience and learning basic business skills, you should begin researching potential locations for your practice. In addition, you should determine whether you want to purchase an existing practice, rent an existing space, or build a new clinic. 

#4: Assemble Your Team

Getting a veterinary practice off the ground requires a solid team of professionals. The members you choose will depend on whether you plan on purchasing an existing practice or building one from scratch. Common professionals needed to start a practice include an accountant, a veterinary attorney, a business consultant, and an insurance agent.

#5: Choose a Marketing Strategy

In order for your practice to succeed, you must implement a good marketing strategy. However, marketing your veterinary practice doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of low-cost options to choose from. For example, with a modern website and a strong social media presence, you can grow your practice at a reasonable cost. In addition, old-school methods such as fliers and newspaper ads are still effective. 

Contact Our Experienced Veterinary Attorneys 

Owning a veterinary practice can be extremely lucrative. However, it can be difficult to accomplish without the right team. Therefore, if you’re considering starting your own veterinary practice, you should contact an experienced veterinary attorney for assistance. At Mahan Law, our veterinary professionals are dedicated to helping veterinary practices be successful. From helping you start your practice, to defending you against lawsuits, we are here to help you succeed. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced veterinary professionals.

Doctor Using computer with graphs and stethoscope

Here's Why Your Veterinary Practice Isn't Growing

Owning a veterinary practice can be extremely rewarding. The opportunity to do what you love while being your own boss is a situation most people can only dream of. Unfortunately, however, being a veterinary practice owner can also be difficult—especially if you aren’t getting the kinds of results you desire. For most veterinary practice owners, the growth of one’s practice is a primary goal. And when this goal isn’t met, it can lead to stress, frustration, and dissatisfaction. Fortunately, by identifying common impediments to practice growth, it is possible to implement new strategies and drastically improve performance. In this article, we discuss common reasons that veterinary practices fail to grow. 

Lack of Originality 

Although it’s okay to take cues from other successful practices, you must maintain your originality to ensure the consistent growth of your practice. This means that you should take steps to give your practice its own identity and feel, such as unique décor and services or perks that aren’t available at other local practices. In addition, it’s important to keep in mind that every practice is different, so what works for one clinic may not work for your practice. 

Failure to Establish a Strong Online Presence 

A business without a strong online presence might as well be invisible. Therefore, to ensure that your practice continues to grow, you must embrace the digital age. And while a modern, interactive website with an active blog is a good start, this isn’t enough. In addition, you should establish a presence on the different social media networks, such as Facebook and Instagram. When it comes to growing your practice, the more exposure you can get, the better. And there is no better way to get eyes on your practice than having a healthy online presence. 

Failure to Attempt to Grow the Business

Finally, your practice won’t grow unless you make growth a priority. As a veterinary practice owner, you likely devote the bulk of your focus to patient care, customer service, your employees, and the day-to-day tasks associated with running a business. And while these are all essential elements of running a successful practice, you must occasionally take a step back and assess whether your practice is growing. In addition, you must proactively take steps to increase your customer base. In other words, if you don’t prioritize growth, you’re likely to remain where you are. 

Contact a Veterinary Practice Consulting Attorney 

If you are interested in growing your veterinary practice, you should consult with an experienced veterinary practice consulting attorney. At Mahan law, our knowledgeable veterinary practice consulting attorneys will work with you to implement strategies to grow your business. When you work with the attorneys at Mahan Law, you can rest assured that your practice is in good hands. Please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.

veterinary practice owner signing legal documents

Reasons a Veterinary Practice May Fail an OSHA Inspection

Veterinary clinics must comply with the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Without these requirements, many workplaces would operate under unhealthy and unsafe conditions. Compliance with OSHA by veterinary clinics increases the safety of patients and employees alike. To ensure that veterinary practices comply with OSHA requirements, the Department of Labor mandates periodic inspections. During these OSHA inspections, evaluators take pictures, examine records, and assess compliance with OSHA requirements. In this article, we examine common reasons that a veterinary practice may fail an OSHA inspection. 

Insufficient Documentation

OSHA requires veterinary practices to adhere to specific documentation procedures. Among these are numerous requirements related to recordkeeping. For example, veterinary practices must file paperwork related to staff, patients, equipment, and medications. Common violations of OSHA’s documentation requirements involve missing paperwork, poorly organized filing systems, and the use of noncompliant forms. In addition, a practice’s failure to maintain required training certifications online can result in an OSHA inspection due to OSHA’s requirements regarding training.

Improper Labeling

OSHA imposes specific labeling protocols on veterinary practices. These protocols ensure that all chemicals display the necessary safety and warning information. Specifically, OSHA requires all chemical labels to display the following: 

  • Information about the company
  • Hazard symbols
  • Product identification
  • The word “danger” or “caution”
  • Hazard statements

The failure of veterinary practices to properly label chemicals creates potential dangers, including poor handling, product misuse, and difficulty finding the correct chemical or medication when needed. 

Building Hazards

Finally, OSHA sometimes sends Certified Safety and Health Officials to veterinary practices without forewarning. When a veterinary practice fails to keep its building clean and in safe condition, it risks failing its inspection. For example, building inspectors can penalize a veterinary practice for anything from cluttered workspaces to loose bolts. And this applies even if the practice has plans in place to address these issues. It is for this reason that every veterinary practice should maintain its building properly.  

Consequences of Failing an OSHA Inspection

Failing an OSHA inspection can have serious consequences on a veterinary practice, including large fines and citations. However, with the proper policies and procedures in place, the odds of failing an OSHA inspection are significantly reduced. Therefore, if you are a veterinary practice owner, you should strongly consider contacting a veterinary practice consulting attorney for assistance in developing legally sound policies and procedures for your practice.

Contact a Veterinary Practice Consulting Attorney 

If you’d like to ensure that your practice remains compliant with OSHA requirements, you need a veterinary practice consulting attorney in your corner. At Mahan law, our experienced veterinary practice consulting attorneys will work with you to establish procedures that ensure compliance with state and federal rules and regulations. With an experienced veterinary practice consulting attorney on your side, you can ensure that your practice, patients, and employees remain protected. Please contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation.

Veterinarian taking care of a dog in their practice

Common Veterinary Errors

Everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, as a veterinarian, mistakes can lead to lawsuits. Therefore, if you own a veterinary practice, it is imperative that you have processes and procedures in place that keep veterinary errors to a minimum. Otherwise, you leave yourself and your practice at risk. In this article, we discuss some common veterinary errors. 

Causes of Veterinary Errors

When veterinarians commit errors, it is typically due to one of the following causes:  

  • Cognitive limitations
  • Pet owner interference
  • Lack of knowledge or skill
  • Productivity issues
  • Communication problems
  • Leadership problems

Common Veterinary Errors

The most common mistakes made by veterinarians include: 

Surgical Errors: Surgical errors are among the most common mistakes made by veterinarians. In fact, errors made during surgery account for approximately 50% of all veterinary mistakes. One study of around 70,000 veterinary cases found that around 40% of veterinary errors were linked to operations. And of these cases, most involved orthopedics and general surgery. The most common causes of veterinary surgical errors are poor communication and leadership failures. Further, interns are more likely than experienced veterinarians to make surgical errors.  

Medication Errors: Medication errors account for approximately 15% of all adverse events in veterinary medicine. The majority of medication errors involve analgesics, cardiovascular drugs, and hypoglycemic agents. However, at least one study examining veterinary errors found that over 50% of all veterinary errors were medication related. Many medication errors occur due to poor administration processes, such as giving the wrong drug or wrong dose to the patient. Veterinary medication errors often occur for the following reasons: 

  • Unclear or obscured medication labeling 
  • Poorly designed drug dosage devices
  • The use of poor symbols or abbreviations on prescriptions
  • Improper disposal or storage of medication leading to accidental overdoses or exposure 

Diagnostic Errors: Finally, diagnostic errors are another common type of veterinary error. This type of error is particularly common among new veterinarians who sometimes lack the experience to accurately diagnosis their patients on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, new veterinary graduates sometimes forgo appropriate diagnostic testing, and this can lead to wrongful judgments.  

On the other hand, experienced veterinarians sometimes experience cognitive bias, which can result in similar mistakes. Cognitive bias occurs when a person utilizes mental shortcuts in order to make decisions. This can lead experienced veterinarians to ignore obvious symptoms in patients and misdiagnose their conditions.  

Contact a Veterinary Practice Consulting Attorney 

If you’d like to cut down on veterinary errors and protect your veterinary practice, you need a veterinary practice consulting attorney on your side. At Mahan law, our experienced veterinary professionals will work with you to establish policies and procedures that reduce veterinary errors and limit your litigation risk. When you have an experienced veterinary practice consulting attorney on your side, you can rest assured that your practice will remain protected. Please contact us to schedule for a free and confidential consultation.

veterinarian going over dog xrays with patient

Easy Ways to Improve Your Veterinary Practice

As the owner of a veterinary practice, you must provide a high level of care to your clients. Otherwise, you stand to lose current clients and dissuade potential customers from frequenting your business. Not only do those who entrust you with their pets expect you to provide them with the utmost care, they also expect to have an overall pleasant experience in the process. In this article, we examine some easy ways that you can improve your veterinary practice.  

Provide children’s activities: Customers often bring their children with them to the office. Therefore, you should take steps to ensure that your customers’ children enjoy their time at your practice. For example, by providing children with stickers, coloring books, and other small items, you not only improve their experience, but you build goodwill with their parents.  

Provide a waiting station: While customers wait for you to treat their pets, they sometimes get impatient. To try to prevent this, it’s helpful to provide your customers with a waiting station. Stocking the waiting station with items like snacks, water, coffee, and more can make your customers’ visit more enjoyable.  

Monitor wait time: No one is a fan of having to wait a long time to receive service. Therefore, you should take steps to reduce your customers’ wait time. And if long wait times are unavoidable, you should train your staff to keep your customers updated on their approximate wait times. Customers will appreciate your efforts to keep them apprised of their wait times and will be less likely to become impatient as a result. 

Follow up with your customers: After each appointment, you should follow up with your customers. And not only should you follow up on the progress of each customer’s pet, but you should make sure that each client’s experience in your office was satisfactory. Your clients will appreciate this extra effort. 

Personalize your customers’ experience: Finally, a fun way to make your customers feel special and to personalize their experience with your practice is to solicit pictures of their animals for inclusion on an office bulletin board. This is a great way to make customers feel connected to your practice, and it also give them the opportunity to show off their furry friends to those who enter your office. 

Contact Our Experienced Veterinary Attorneys 

If you own a veterinary practice, you need a veterinary attorney in your corner. Regardless of your veterinary needs, the veterinary professionals at Mahan Law are here to assist you with your legal needs. When you choose us to handle the legal affairs of your veterinary practice, you can rest assured that we will take the steps necessary to protect your interests and help you achieve your practice goals. If you’d like to explore our services and discuss your needs, please contact us today for a consultation.

Couple meeting with a veterinary practice litigation attorney

Building a Veterinary Clinic from the Ground Up

There are many advantages to owning a veterinary practice. For example, as a veterinary practice owner, you can set your own hours, be your own boss, and determine the direction of your business. Fortunately, there are many options available to those interested in practice ownership. One such option is to start a veterinary practice from scratch—and this includes constructing a brand-new building to house your practice. In this article, we discuss how to build a veterinary clinic from the ground up. 

Analyze the Cost

When it comes to building your own veterinary clinic, cost is an important factor. Therefore, the first thing you must do when building your own practice is analyze the cost. Veterinary clinics are often expensive to construct when compared with other types of commercial projects. Therefore, it is imperative that you understand the projected costs of your project at the onset and take the time to determine what you can afford to build.

Choose a Realtor 

After determining the cost of your project, you should work with a reputable realtor to locate a good site for your clinic. In addition to choosing a site that you can afford, you should choose a location that will allow your business to thrive. A good realtor, particularly one who is experienced in commercial matters, should be able to help you locate a property that checks both boxes.   

Obtain Financing

If you are like most people, you’ll need to take out one or more loans to help you finance your business. If you don’t have much experience in this area, your realtor should be able to provide you with information on where to seek financing for your project.

Design Your Building and Space

After choosing a location and obtaining financing, you’ll be ready to begin designing the building that will house your practice. And unless you were an architect or contractor in your previous career, you’ll probably need some help in this area. Regarding the design and construction of the building itself, you should work with a reputable contractor. Again, if you have an experienced commercial realtor, he or she should be able to provide you with contractor recommendations. 

In addition, after the building is constructed, you may want to hire an interior designer to help you decorate the inside of your practice. Although this may seem unnecessary, the atmosphere of your office can go a long way in attracting and retaining new clientele, so you shouldn’t overlook this aspect of building a practice. 

Contact Our Experienced Veterinary Attorneys 

As a veterinarian, owning your own practice is one of the most rewarding things you can do. However, to succeed as a veterinary practice owner, you need the right team, and part of this team should include an experienced veterinary attorney. At Mahan Law, we are dedicated to helping veterinary practices succeed. From helping you get your practice up and running, to defending you against litigation threats, we are here to help you succeed in the veterinary industry. Please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.

Female vet with client and dog

Common Veterinary Practice Challenges

Like all businesses, veterinary practices face their fair share of challenging situations. From angry customers to increased competition, no veterinary practice is immune. Fortunately, there are strategies available to face—and overcome—such challenges. In this article, we examine some common veterinary practice challenges and discuss ways to successfully address them. 


Pricing can make or break a veterinary business. And unfortunately, setting prices for veterinary services can be challenging. If pricing is too high, customers will go elsewhere. Conversely, if pricing is too low, it can severely affect a practice’s bottom line. Therefore, when it comes to pricing, hitting the so-called “sweet spot” is key. There are several ways to do this, including market research, veterinary practice management software, and hiring a veterinary practice consultant. 


Competition in the veterinary industry is tougher than ever. This is due in no small part to the advent of technology—particularly the internet. Customers today typically turn to the internet to research veterinary practices, meaning that veterinary practices must maintain a strong online presence to remain competitive. However, simply having a website isn’t enough. Instead, to remain competitive, practices must take advantage of multiple online platforms. In addition to a modern, up-to-date website, it is important to maintain a strong social media presence, take advantage of email marketing opportunities, have an active blog, and remain aware of new technological developments. 

Staff Problems

Employees are a critical component of the success of any veterinary practice. From front desk employees to technicians, a veterinary practice simply can’t succeed without a great staff. Therefore, veterinary practice owners must ensure that they are doing everything possible to help their employees do a great job. For example, during peak hours, veterinary employees are often tasked with multiple responsibilities, and this can lead to errors. In addition to a strong internal training program, one way to reduce such errors is the use of modern practice management software. In addition, taking steps to help employees avoid burnout, such as providing a relaxing break room, can go a long way towards providing great service and reducing mistakes. 

Customer Complaints

Finally, all businesses must deal with customer complaints. As a veterinary practice owner, it is important to have an efficient system in place for addressing complaints. Generally, such a system must aim to resolve complaints in a manner that satisfies and retains customers. The failure to implement a system for addressing complaints can result in an overall reduction in profit and reputation. 

Contact Our Experienced Veterinary Attorneys 

Although the veterinary industry is challenging, it can also be highly rewarding. One of the best ways to address the challenges inherent in running a veterinary practice is to hire an experienced veterinary attorney. At Mahan Law, we are dedicated to helping veterinarians succeed in addressing the unique challenges faced by veterinary industry professionals. From designing policies and procedures, to defending you against litigation threats, our attorneys are here to help. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Couple meeting with a veterinary practice litigation attorney

Choosing a Veterinary Practice Attorney

If your veterinary practice needs legal assistance, there are several things you must consider. After all, choosing the right attorney can be difficult. Fortunately, however, if you enter your attorney search armed with the proper knowledge, the process doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, choosing a veterinary practice attorney can be a pleasant experience that results in a long-term professional relationship. In this article, we discuss some things you should consider when choosing a veterinary practice litigation attorney.  

Track Record

The first thing you should consider when choosing a veterinary practice litigation attorney is his or her rate of success handling cases similar to your own. However, bear in mind that success can refer to both favorable settlements and courtroom judgments. So, when discussing this matter with a prospective attorney, be sure to ask about both. Ideally, the veterinary practice litigation attorney you choose will have a track record of both settlement and courtroom success.

Case Resolution Style

Some attorneys prefer to take cases to trial, while others lean toward settlement. Although there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with either approach, you should determine your prospective attorney’s preference in this area. Ideally, your attorney should be comfortable litigating cases at trial and settling cases. An attorney who is comfortable with litigation and settling is better equipped to make an objective determination regarding which route makes the most sense for your case. 


Next, you should check with your prospective attorney about his or her preferred method of communication. In addition, you should determine whether the attorney you meet with during your initial consultation will be handling your case or whether most of the work will be performed by a junior associate. A good lawyer should be ready and willing to answer all questions you have about your case and the legal process in general. 


Finally, although cost isn’t everything, it is certainly an important factor in your attorney’s decision. Therefore, you should determine your prospective attorney’s preferred billing method. Some attorneys charge by the hour, while others work on a contingency basis. Ideally, you should choose a lawyer who charges on a flat-fee basis, offers cost-effective services, and offers retainer plans with reduced rates for certain services. 

Contact Our Experienced Veterinary Attorneys 

Veterinary practice owners face unique challenges. So, if you own a veterinary practice, you need the assistance of an experienced veterinary attorney to help you face these challenges. At Mahan Law, we are longtime veterans of the veterinary business. Founded by veterinary hospital owner Anthony Mahan, our practice is dedicated to helping veterinarians avoid litigation by designing well-crafted agreements and proactive procedures and policies. We are as comfortable at the settlement table as we are in the courtroom, making us uniquely suited to address your legal needs. And if you are currently embroiled in litigation, we will provide you with powerful representation when you need it most. Please contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.