Canine Cushing's Case Files: The ins and outs of detection and treatment—The economics of managing hyperadrenocorticism in dogs (Sponsored by Dechra Veterinary Products)

source-image
Sep 01, 2013


Fritz Wood, CPA, CFP
Most veterinary practice owners and managers know the amount clients spend per clinic visit and are familiar with the alphabet soup describing such transactions: Average Transaction Fee (ATF), Average Charge per Transaction (ACT), Average Transaction Charge (ATC), Average Doctor Transaction (ADT), and numerous others. These metrics — and their trends over time — reveal the health of your business. On the other hand, practices rarely examine the financial or economic impact of a particular condition or disease. We are trained to think in terms of transactions rather than considering a bigger picture. However, an underestimated financial benefit exists for any practice that produces satisfied clients who have pets with well-controlled diseases that live longer lives. These clients have a renewed trust in and loyalty to the practice and are more likely to return there for their pet's other wellness and medical needs.

The impact of managing a chronic disease

Consider the impact that management of just one common chronic disease can have on your practice's bottom line. How many canine patients with hyperadrenocorticism did you identify and treat in the last 12 months? What's the incremental gross and net income from treating and monitoring a dog with hyperadrenocorticism in the 12 months after detection, and how much impact does your pricing have on a client's ability and willingness to treat the disease?

Cushing's disease is a chronic illness that is not cured, but rather managed throughout a pet's life. What's the annual financial impact of managing patients with Cushing's syndrome on your practice? What's the long-term benefit to your practice of skillfully managing a dog with Cushing's disease and having the owners happy that their dog's clinical signs have resolved?

A year in the life of Riley

Consider a case example such as Riley,* a 12-year-old spayed female beagle that weighs 27 lb (12.3 kg). Her owners have historically taken good care of riley and followed their longtime veterinarian's advice. Riley presented with common clinical signs of canine hyperadrenocorticism — polyuria and polydipsia, polyphagia, alopecia, and a pendulous abdomen.

Diagnosing canine hyperadrenocorticism can be fairly straightforward based on a dog's history, clinical signs, and results of readily available diagnostic tests (see the previous Canine Cushing's Case Files in this series, 'Dali,' 'Princess,' and 'Mitch'). Examination and screening for other concurrent disease processes is also indicated.

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, VETORYL® CAPSULES (trilostane), the only FDA-approved drug indicated for medical treatment of both pituitary- and adrenal-dependent hyperadrenocorticism in dogs, can be prescribed.