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Adding theriogenology services: The good, the bad and the ugly (Proceedings)

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Apr 01, 2010

Objectives

The objective of this session is to provide the general practitioner with factors to consider when contemplating the addition of theriogenology services to his or her practice.

General key points

     - A significant commitment to theriogenology service is required.
     - Additional training to gain proficiency may be required.
     - Some investment in specialty-use equipment and supplies is necessary.
     - Offering theriogenology services sets your practice apart from competitor practices.
     - Clients perceive enhanced expertise in other areas of veterinary medicine – "spill-over effect."
     - Breeder clients are loyal (BUT demanding), and they return for repeat business.
     - Breeder clients more often request and follow recommendations for other "high end" services.
     - Theriogenology services are profitable.
     - The potential for professional satisfaction is great!

Overview

Adding theriogenology services to your general practice can be a huge "plus" in terms of both professional satisfaction and practice revenue. Pros and cons of theriogenology practice will be discussed, along with factors to consider when deciding the scope of services to be offered, avenues available for acquiring knowledge and developing skills, equipment needs and marketing strategies.

Discussion

Commitment

Concomitant with a decision to offer theriogenology services comes the commitment to provide the services offered. Conception and parturition often do not restrict themselves to the 9AM to 5PM Monday through Friday workweek. The theriogenology clinician must be willing to provide services after hours and on holidays. The average life span of frozen-thawed spermatozoa is 12 hours. Therefore, changing the insemination date even one day from the optimal day may thwart conception.

Scope of services

Basic theriogenology services

     - Ovulation timing
     - Transvaginal artificial insemination
     - Semen collection for fresh-chilled shipment
     - Full Service Theriogenology Practice – in addition to the above
     - Breeding sounding examination – male and female
     - Breeding Management
     - Transcervical artificial insemination
     - Surgical insemination ("implant")
     - Pregnancy Diagnosis
     - High risk pregnancy management
     - Parturition management
     - Dx and Tx of dystocia
     - Dx and Tx of male and female subfertility and infertility
     - Semen freezing and storage– franchise or independent
     - Importation and exportation of frozen semen
     - Pedigree analysis and genetic counseling
     - DNA technology (registry, testing for paternity and disease markers)
     - Elective Caesarian section delivery
     - Neonatology
     - Radiographic evaluation for breeding (e.g. PennHIP radiography)

Proficiency

     - Become board certified through the ACT – traditional and practitioner routes available
     - Become a member of the SFT (Society for Theriogenology, http://www.therio.org/) and attend annual meetings
     - Sign up on the SFT-SA list serve
     - Attend continuing education programs
     - Collaborate with a mentor theriogenologist
     - Receive training provided in conjunction with a franchise purchase (e.g. CLONE, ICG)
     - Hire a trained associate