Veterinary attorneys looking at case

Protecting Veterinary Client Information

Veterinary practices routinely handle confidential client information. Confidential information includes animal and client-related information that links back to a person. Although animal treatment records themselves are not considered confidential information, they become so if they link back to a human client. Given the strong protection the law affords to such information, it is imperative to put safeguards in place to ensure legal compliance. If your veterinary practice fails to protect your client’s personal information, you could face serious legal consequences. In this article, we discuss how to protect veterinary client information. 

Assign Responsibility 

If you don’t do it yourself, you should appoint someone to take primary responsibility for the management of data protection. The employee you assign should be someone who is relatively senior and has a solid understanding of data protection.

Create a Privacy Policy 

Every veterinary practice should have a privacy policy. This policy should provide information about the types of personal data that is collected and processed by the practice, the different uses of the data, how long the data is retained, and whether it is shared. 

Provide Training

Every staff member with access to customer personal information should receive training. Ideally, records of such training should be kept and retained. In addition, employees should be provided with periodic refresher training to ensure that their knowledge on protecting personal information remains current. 

Implement Electronic Safeguards

Practically all veterinary records are now stored electronically. Therefore, you should implement multiple electronic safeguards to ensure that all client personal information remains protected. If you don’t have your own IT team, you should seek out a reputable IT company to assist you. Firewalls, anti-spyware software, and anti-virus software are just a few of the ways that an IT organization can help keep your customer information safe. And if you still maintain paper records, you should store them in a safe place and ensure that only the staff responsible for accessing such records can enter the area. 

Routinely Review and Update 

You should also routinely review and update all aspects of your overall customer information protection plan. The laws that protect personal information are always changing, so you should consult with an experienced veterinary lawyer to ensure that the data protection protocols you have in place are effective and legally sufficient. Specifically, you should regularly review your policies and procedures, training materials, and electronic security measures to ensure that they are current and compliant with all relevant laws. 

Contact an Experienced Veterinary Lawyer 

Finally, as noted above, for assistance with protecting confidential veterinary client information, you should contact an experienced veterinary attorney. At Mahan Law, our experienced legal professionals will assist in the development of data protection policies and procedures that adhere to state and federal requirements. Please contact us as soon as possible to arrange a free and confidential consultation with one of our talented attorneys.

A veterinarian doctor in stress after an employment dispute

Understanding and Preventing Veterinary Burnout

Veterinary practice owners and employees have rewarding—but highly challenging—jobs. And in recent years, the veterinary industry has seen higher customer volume, lower employee retention, and a seemingly never-ending slew of new restrictions and safety practices. These developments, in addition to the traditional day-to-day challenges inherent to the veterinary industry, can result in burnout. In this article, we discuss veterinary burnout and how to prevent it. 

What is Veterinary Burnout? 

Veterinary burnout is a state of emotional or physical exhaustion that also involves a loss of personal identity and sense of reduced accomplishment. There are multiple things that can contribute to veterinary burnout, including lack of resources, long hours, working in a hospital environment, and consistent exposure to trauma. 

Veterinary Burnout Warning Signs

Veterinary burnout can take many different forms. Common signs of veterinary burnout include: 

  • A compulsion to prove oneself 
  • Working harder
  • Neglecting one’s needs
  • Revision of values
  • Withdrawal
  • Denial of problems
  • Depression
  • Displacement of conflicts
  • Clear behavior changes
  • A feeling of inner emptiness
  • Depersonalization
  • Depression
  • Burnout syndrome

Avoiding Veterinary Burnout

In addition to seeking the help of a professional, there are several ways to avoid veterinary burnout, including:

  • Remember why you practice veterinary medicine: Sometimes, avoiding veterinary burnout involves reminding yourself why you practice veterinary medicine—the love of animals! Although working with animals can be difficult, it is also highly rewarding. Not only does veterinary medicine afford you the opportunity to make a profound impact on the lives of pets and their owners, but it also comes with multiple daily rewards, such as happy customers and wagging tails!
  • Be grateful: Gratitude is not simply a good feeling. Rather, it’s an intentional practice. In other words, you can choose to be grateful. And when you’re grateful, it’s difficult to feel stressed out.  To practice gratitude, you should focus on the moments in your job that bring you joy. 
  • Don’t bring your work home: Although it can be difficult to do so, another way to avoid veterinary burnout is to leave your work where it belongs—at work! Remember, work will always be there when you return. When you’re at home, focus on relaxing and destressing.  
  • Seek help: Finally, if you are finding it difficult to get over your burnout, you should seek professional help. There are plenty of options in this area, including counselors, life coaches, and more. Remember, while everyone gets stressed from time to time, burnout should not be your normal state. 

Contact an Experienced Veterinary Lawyer 

At Mahan Law, our team of knowledgeable and experienced legal professionals provide support to those in the veterinary industry. When you come to us for assistance, we are available to assist in multiple areas, including veterinary practice transactions, veterinary policy and procedure development, and veterinary litigation.  In other words, regardless of your needs, our experienced veterinary professionals are here to help you succeed. Please contact us to arrange a consultation with an experienced veterinary practice attorney.

Two veterinarians caring for a dog

4 Tips for Communicating with Veterinary Clients

Communication is the key to any successful business. Effective communication is especially important for businesses that deal with emotional clients, such as veterinary clinics and medical offices. It’s understandable that people are passionate about issues involving their pets. After all, most people think of their pets as part of the family. Therefore, veterinary clinic employees must understand how to communicate effectively with clients—even under stressful circumstances. In this article, we provide four tips for communicating with veterinary clients. 

#1: Control Your Responses

Always be sure to control your responses when communicating with your clients. One way to control your responses when communicating with veterinary clients is to remember that their actions often come from a place of concern for their pets. Therefore, whether a client is sad, angry, or otherwise, try to remain calm and measured in your responses. 

#2: Pay Attention to Your Body Language

Experts claim that approximately 90% of communication is non-verbal. In other words, when communicating with veterinary clients, it’s not always what you say, but how you behave. So, when addressing your clients, you should use body language that communicates a message of openness and trust. Ways to do so include:

  • Maintaining eye contact 
  • Smiling in a genuine manner when appropriate
  • Mirroring the body language of the client (unless the client is angry or aggressive)
  • Leaving your arms uncrossed

#3: Be Empathetic

A key aspect of effective communication is empathy, which is the act of taking the perspective of another person. In a veterinary practice, empathy helps you avoid judgment and recognize the client’s feelings. Empathy is particularly useful during challenging interactions. By behaving empathetically, you help the client feel heard, and this can defuse reactivity. 

#4: Use Clear Language and Offer Options

Finally, you should provide clients with as much clarity as possible about their situation. Generally, the better your clients understand what’s going on, the less likely they are to become upset. In addition, when attempting to resolve a client’s issue, you should offer them different options whenever possible. 

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re having a routine interaction with a client or addressing a major issue, clear communication is imperative. Therefore, when addressing clients, you should always make clear and effective communication your top priority. In addition, to impart the importance of clear communication to your staff, you should consider providing all employees training in this critical area. 

Contact an Experienced Veterinary Lawyer 

At Mahan Law, we are here to help make your veterinary practice a success. With years of veterinary experience, we know what it takes to address the challenges of the modern veterinary industry. Therefore, regardless of your needs, our veterinary professionals will utilize their experience and knowledge to formulate effective solutions to your issues. Please contact us to schedule an initial consultation with one of our talented veterinary practice attorneys.

Female vet with client and dog

5 Common Veterinary Practice Transaction Missteps

Veterinary practice transactions can be highly profitable for all parties involved. However, the process of buying and selling a veterinary practice can also be overwhelming and confusing. There are many issues to address during the veterinary practice transaction process, and mistakes made along the way can transform a dream deal into a nightmare. In this article, we discuss five common veterinary practice transaction missteps. 

#1: Failing to Plan

Conducting a successful veterinary practice transaction takes time. Despite this, parties sometimes enter the process without planning adequately. This is a big mistake. By failing to plan, buyers and sellers place themselves at risk. Therefore, both parties to a veterinary practice transaction should carefully plan all aspects of the deal prior to signing a contract.  

#2: Rushing into the Transaction

A related mistake that parties to veterinary practice transactions make is moving too quickly. Although parties are often anxious to complete the transaction, rushing through the process can create a host of problems. Often, rather than immediately drafting a sales contract, the parties to a veterinary practice transaction should consider executing a letter of intent. A letter of intent, as opposed to a contract, is not legally binding. Instead, this document outlines the parties’ preliminary understandings and agreements about the anticipated transaction. A well-drafted letter of intent increases the chances that the parties will sign a contract and execute the transaction.

#3: Failing to Perform Due Diligence

Closely relating to planning is the concept of due diligence. Neither party to a veterinary practice transaction should sign a sales contract until they have performed due diligence. Due diligence typically involves several steps, including: 

  • A thorough examination of the practice’s premises, inventory, assets, records, financial statements, tax returns, client documents, personnel files, contracts, leases, accounts receivable, employment agreements, creditor lists, and more.
  • An accounting of the veterinary practice’s liabilities and assets.
  • A search for liens against the practice’s assets. 

#4: Failing to Account for the Transition Period

A successful veterinary practice transaction typically requires a reasonable transition period. This benefits the seller, buyer, and the practice’s customers. The sales contract should clearly outline the transition requirements. At a minimum, the seller of the practice should agree to answer the buyer’s questions during the transition period and introduce the purchaser to the practice’s clients and employees. 

#5: Failing to Utilize the Right Professionals

Finally, a successful veterinary practice transaction requires the right team. At a minimum, this team should include an accountant, a practice broker, and an experienced veterinary lawyer.  

Contact an Experienced Veterinary Lawyer 

At Mahan Law, our experienced veterinary professionals help both buyers and sellers of veterinary practices execute successful transactions. Therefore, regardless of whether you are buying or selling a veterinary practice, our experienced veterinary team is here to make your transaction a success. Please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced veterinary practice attorney.

Vet and dog and client

Tips for Responding to an Upset Veterinary Practice Client

All businesses must deal with irate customers from time to time. Unfortunately, this is especially true for businesses in the veterinary field. This is understandable. After all, when it comes to people’s beloved pets, emotions can sometimes run high. Therefore, as a veterinary practice owner, it’s important that you have strategies in place for dealing with upset customers. In this article, we provide some tips for responding to an upset veterinary practice client. 

Be Patient

The first thing you should do when dealing with an angry client is remain patient. Trying to hurry things along in an effort to quickly resolve the situation will likely further agitate the client. In most situations, an angry client primarily wants to be listened to. So, rushing things along can make the patient feel as if you aren’t taking his or her concerns seriously. 

Be Empathetic

Even if a client is belligerent, it’s important to remain empathetic. Most people consider their pets to be a part of the family, so it’s understandable for them to get upset when they feel like they’ve received poor veterinary service. By keeping this in mind when dealing with an upset client, you’re likely to refrain from reacting in an agitated manner and making matters worse. 

Stay Calm

When someone attacks your business, it’s natural to get defensive—and angry. However, when a patient becomes upset with you or your practice, you must fight the urge to raise your voice, speak over the patient, or otherwise react in a defensive manner. In fact, you should, at least in the moment, avoid defending yourself and your practice entirely. Instead, you should speak softly and calmly, allow the client to finish, and work to rectify the client’s issue. 

Watch Your Body Language

Even if you speak calmly and remain patient with an angry client, your body language can send a different message. Therefore, when addressing an angry client, you should make an effort to avoid defensive or aggressive body language, such as crossing your arms, clenching your fists, or standing with your hands on your hips. 

End the Discussion on a Positive Note

Finally, always try to end the discussion on a positive note, even if all you do is tell the client that you plan to closely look into their grievance and get back to them promptly. When ending the discussion, the most important thing you should do is assure the client that it is your goal to solve his or her problem. 

Contact an Experienced Veterinary Lawyer 

At Mahan Law, we help veterinary practice owners address the unique challenges of the veterinary industry. So, regardless of your veterinary needs, our experienced veterinary professionals have the experience and knowledge necessary to help you with your issues. Please contact us today to arrange a free consultation with a talented veterinary practice attorney.

Business woman signing a legal document

Options for Selling Your Veterinary Practice

The decision to sell your veterinary practice can be a difficult one. Nevertheless, there comes a time when each veterinary practice owner must decide whether to shut down, sell, or transfer the practice. After all, no one can continue to work forever. One course of action that offers multiple benefits, including the possibility of funding one’s retirement, is selling. And, fortunately, there are several ways to do so. In this article, we discuss options for selling your veterinary practice.  

Sell to Your Partners

If you have partners in your business, selling to one of them is often a good option. One benefit of selling to a partner is that they are already familiar with your practice, finances, and clients, and this can make for an easy transition. 

Sell to a Corporation 

An option that is becoming increasingly popular is selling to a corporation. This option is most viable for practices that focus on small animals since most corporate consolidators have no interest in mixed-practice acquisitions. An advantage of selling to a corporation is that corporations often pay well. However, many corporations require owners to stay on board for a few years after the sale, which means that this may not be a good option if you are selling due to retirement. 

Sell to an Associate

Another good option for selling a veterinary practice is selling to an associate. Like the partner option discussed above, when you sell to an associate, he or she is already familiar with the practice. In addition, since you have a prior working relationship with the associate, the risk tends to be lower than selling to an unknown party. 

Sell to a Non-Veterinarian 

Selling your practice to a non-veterinarian can also be a great option. However, not all states allow this, so you must check your state’s laws before doing so. And even if your state doesn’t allow you to sell your practice to a non-veterinarian, it may be possible to so with the help of an experienced veterinary attorney. 

Sell on the Open Market 

Finally, selling on the open market remains the most common way of selling a small veterinary practice. When selling a veterinary practice on the open market, it is useful to obtain the assistance of an experienced veterinary lawyer to help you locate buyers, draft contracts, determine financing, and perform negotiations.

Contact an Experienced Veterinary Lawyer 

If you are considering selling your veterinary practice, the experienced professionals at Mahan Law are here to guide you through the process. When you come to us for assistance, we will help you determine the best possible course of action and take the necessary steps to make the sale of your practice as smooth and successful as possible. Please contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a talented veterinary attorney.

Veterinarian signing contract

An Overview of Veterinary Associate Contracts

As the owner of a veterinary practice, you understand the importance of your employees. Equally important, however, is to have well-drafted contracts in place outlining the nature of the relationship you have with your employees. In addition to outlining your respective roles and responsibilities, veterinary associate contracts serve to protect the employee’s interests and the interests of your practice. In this article, we provide an overview of veterinary associate contracts. 

Reasons for Veterinary Associate Contracts

Veterinary associate contracts are beneficial for a number of reasons, including: 

  • Veterinary associate contracts serve to protect both parties. 
  • Veterinary associate contracts help avoid misunderstandings over benefits, compensation, and employee duties. 
  • Having veterinary associate contracts in place can make it easier to sell your practice should you ever decide to do so.
  • Although verbal employment agreements are binding, they are difficult to prove and can lead to disputes down the road. 

What Do Veterinary Associate Contracts Cover? 

Veterinary associate contracts cover all aspects of the employer/employee relationship, including onboarding and termination. And although verbal agreements are legally binding, it’s practically impossible to outline all details of an employer/employee relationship verbally. Therefore, it is to each party’s benefit to enter a veterinary associate contract that clearly outlines the terms of the relationship between the employee and the practice. 

Common Veterinary Associate Contract Clauses

Although every contract is different, common clauses included in veterinary associate agreements include: 

Term: The term is the period for which the contract is in effect. Contracts generally may either be written for a set time period, or they may be perpetual.

Duties: The duties clause of a veterinary associate contract outlines the specific duties and requirements of the position. 

Compensation and schedule: Veterinary associate contracts also often outline the compensation to be provided to the employee and the employee’s work schedule. 

Benefits: If the position involves benefits in addition to pay, such as insurance, professional licensure, tuition for continuing education, or association fees, then these should be outlined in the contract.  

Termination: Another common and important clause that is usually included in veterinary associate contracts is a termination clause. This clause outlines reasons for termination and sometimes establishes a timeframe for providing notice should either party decide to sever the business relationship. 

Buy-in option provision: Finally, when an associate has been with a veterinary practice for several years, he or she may develop an interest in becoming a partner in the practice or eventually assuming ownership of the practice. When this is the case, the parties can amend the associate contract to add a buy-in option. 

Contact Our Experienced Veterinary Lawyers 

At Mahan Law, our experienced veterinary professionals help the owners of veterinary practices address the challenges posed by the veterinary industry. Regardless of your practice’s needs, we have the experience and knowledge necessary to provide you with the tools you need to make your practice successful. Please contact us today to arrange an initial consultation with a talented veterinary attorney.

Attorneys sitting together discussing veterinary malpractice case

Dealing With the Stress of a Veterinary Malpractice Lawsuit

Although rewarding, the veterinary profession can be stressful. In addition to the many routine issues that you must address each day, you also must confront unexpected challenges. One such challenge is a veterinary malpractice lawsuit. Unfortunately, a veterinary malpractice lawsuit can arise at any time. Therefore, you must always remain prepared for this possibility, and you must know how to address it when it arises. In addition to understanding how to address veterinary malpractice lawsuits from a legal perspective, you must possess the tools to deal with the mental and physical effects of litigation. In this article, we discuss how to deal with the stress of a veterinary malpractice lawsuit. 


After being served with a veterinary malpractice lawsuit, the first thing you should do is prepare. The first reason for this is obvious—adequate preparation increases your odds of a successful outcome. However, preparing for your lawsuit can also help to reduce your stress in several ways. For one, by shifting your focus to preparation, you have less time to worry. And second, preparation can give you the peace of mind that you’ve done everything possible to address your case, thereby reducing your overall stress level.  

Confer with Colleagues and Friends (But Don’t Discuss Specifics)

Another way to reduce the stress caused by a veterinary malpractice lawsuit is to discuss the matter with colleagues who’ve faced similar challenges. Specifically, it can be helpful to speak with other veterinarians who’ve faced malpractice lawsuits in the past. When discussing this matter, you should ask them how they dealt with the stress associated with the lawsuit. 

In addition, you should speak to family members who are willing to listen to your concerns. Often, just expressing your feeling about the matter can reduce your stress levels. However, when speaking to colleagues or family, be sure not to discuss the details of your case. In fact, the only person you should share this information with is your veterinary malpractice attorney. 

Prioritize Your Physical and Mental Health

Finally, after being served with a veterinary malpractice lawsuit, you should prioritize your physical and mental health. Although being sued is stressful, you shouldn’t take any actions that increase this stress. For example, although you should prepare for the lawsuit with the help of your attorney, you shouldn’t fixate on the case. In addition, you shouldn’t attempt to handle your stress by overindulging in food or alcohol. Instead, you should engage in healthy, stress-reducing activities, such as exercising and participating in hobbies.  

Contact an Experienced Veterinary Lawyer 

At Mahan Law, our experienced veterinary legal professionals help our clients address the legal challenges that arise over the course of providing veterinary services. Regardless of your legal needs, our experienced lawyers have the tools necessary to provide you with excellent legal representation. Please contact us as soon as possible to arrange a free and confidential consultation with a talented veterinary practice litigation attorney.

veterinary practice receptionist greeting patient

Tips for Improving Your Veterinary Practice’s Customer Service

As a veterinary practice owner, you understand the importance of providing your patients with excellent care. However, from a business perspective, it is equally important to provide your clients with great customer service. In other words, if you don’t provide your customers with excellent service, they’re unlikely to remain your customers for long. In this article, we provide some tips for improving your veterinary practice’s customer service.  


Veterinary practice staff members often feel like salespeople when dealing with customers. Unfortunately, customers pick up on this as well. Therefore, instead of trying to sell services to customers, focus on educating them. In other words, you should provide clients with information on the best ways to care for their pets and keep them healthy. Of course, this will likely include veterinary services. However, by framing your recommendations in an educational and informational manner, customers are less likely to feel like you are simply trying to sell them treatments. And this, in turn, will make them more likely to remain patrons of your practice. 

Build Relationships 

Your customers should always feel comfortable when they bring their pets to your veterinary practice. Therefore, you and your staff should aim to build relationships with your clients. In other words, you should aim to do more than simply treat your customer’s pets and send them on their way. Instead, you should take the time to get to know your customers and their pets. By making a genuine effort to understand your customers and their needs, you will be in a much better position to provide them with effective services. In addition, customers appreciate it when you take the time to get to know them. When you do so, they are more likely to remain your customers instead of going elsewhere for their veterinary needs. 


Finally, excellent customer service is impossible without great communication. Therefore, you must ensure that you and your veterinary staff are excellent communicators. In other words, from the time they book their first appointment, your customers should have a clear understanding of the services you provide, their requirements as clients, and any other information that is pertinent to the treatment of their pets. And this excellent communication must persist throughout the course of treatment. A major customer complaint regarding veterinary services is lack of communication. Therefore, by ensuring that you and your employees are excellent communicators, you ensure that your customers will remain your customers for years to come. 

Contact Our Experienced Veterinary Lawyers 

At Mahan Law, our experienced veterinary professionals help veterinarians address the unique challenges of the veterinary business. Regardless of your practice’s needs, our experienced veterinary lawyers are here to help. Whether you need to address an immediate legal issue or need assistance improving the overall quality of your practice, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to address your needs. Please contact us today to arrange a free and confidential initial consultation with one of our experienced veterinary attorneys.

veterinarian with dog

Tips for Starting a Successful Veterinary Practice

Starting your own veterinary practice can be a fulfilling and lucrative endeavor. However, there are several things to consider before you begin the process. In this article, we provide some tips for starting a successful veterinary practice. 

Determine What You Want to Accomplish

Although it may seem obvious, the first step in starting a successful veterinary practice is determining what you want to accomplish. Therefore, before doing anything else, you should develop a clear vision of what you are seeking to accomplish with your practice. Doing so will help guide your decisions as you navigate the process. 

Choose A Market

Next, you should determine what type of practice you want to open. In other words, you should choose a niche. For example, you should decide whether your practice will be a general practice or cater to specific types of animals or medical conditions. 

Choose a Location

After determining the type of practice you’d like to open, you should choose a location. One way to decide this is to determine where your target audience lives and where they go to obtain veterinary care. You should also determine how many other veterinary practices are operating in your potential locations. 

Create a Business Plan

Every new business needs a business plan. Therefore, the next thing you should do is develop a plan that outlines the details of your practice. Your plan should include financial information, a marketing strategy, and other key details about your practice. 

Obtain Financing

Unless you have a significant amount of cash available, you’ll need to obtain financing to start your new practice. Common financing options include lenders, banks, and investors. The kind of financing you obtain will depend on the size of your practice and the amount of money you require to get up and running. 

Hire a Team of Professionals

A successful veterinary practice requires a team of dedicated professionals. Therefore, at a minimum, you should work with an accountant, an insurance agent, and an experienced veterinary attorney as you work to establish your new practice. 

Set Your Physical Location

There are several options available when it comes to choosing the actual physical location of your practice. Depending on your financing and needs, you may choose to open a hospital, a clinic, or a mobile clinic. You’ll also need to decide whether you want to rent, buy, or build. In addition, you must ensure that you have all the necessary equipment and obtain all required permits and licenses to operate your practice. 

Hire Staff 

Finally, you must hire and train employees. Depending on the size of your practice, you may want to consider hiring professionals, such as veterinary technicians and assistants. In addition, you’ll need to hire non-medical staff members, such as a front desk manager or receptionist. 

Contact Our Experienced Veterinary Lawyers 

At Mahan Law, our experienced veterinary lawyer helps veterinary practice owners address the unique challenges of the veterinary industry. Regardless of your needs, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to provide you with excellent legal guidance. Please contact us to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation with a talented veterinary attorney.