Employed or Contractor, All Veterinarians Have a Voice at PetIQ

Every day the veterinarians at PetIQ try to find ways to make a difference in the lives of the pets and pet parents that come through their doors in Community Clinics and Wellness Centers across the country.

As part of PetIQ’s commitment to providing best-in-class preventive care, the veterinary services division formed a Medical Advisory Council to take a forward-looking approach to how PetIQ practices veterinary medicine.

Members of the Medical Advisory Council recently discussed the reasons they joined and what issues are most important going forward. The members who participated are:

Dr. Patricia Handal, Community Clinic Veterinarian since 2003
Dr. Charron Bryant, District Medical Director, with PetIQ since 2017
Dr. Karen O’Connor, District Medical Director, with PetIQ since 2018
Dr. Cindy Thurston, Wellness Center Veterinarian since 2020

What made you want to serve on the PetIQ Medical Advisory Council?

Dr. Handal: I thought it would be best if all veterinarians and staff members were following the same schedule for vaccinations and for things to become standardized. From protocols to procedures, I wanted to ensure the best quality of care for our pets and pet parents, no matter where they saw us.

Dr. Thurston: Before coming to PetIQ, I worked in low-cost clinics and high-volume shelters and practiced in rural and lower-income areas. Having worked with a wide variety of clients possessing a range of financial resources, I felt it was essential to keep all of our pet parents in mind as we expand and improve PetIQ’s available services. We need to keep our services genuinely accessible and affordable to the highest number of pet parents.

How does your experience inform the issues discussed by the council?

Dr. O’Connor: As a District Medical Director, I keep track of topics that the doctors in my district bring to me about their day-to-day. If these topics have the potential to be company-wide issues, they can be part of the council and improve the company as a whole. One of the council’s primary functions is the approval of products for the formulary – medical products that each clinic can carry for use in the clinics or centers or sale to clients. This is how we standardize what products we have.

Dr. Thurston: As we review requests for additions to our formulary or changes to our services, I keep in mind how those changes would look as we try to service many families in a short amount of time. I also want to look at the cost of any new services or medications and assess whether or not the cost may limit access to care.

What committees do you serve on and why?

Dr. Handal: I serve on the Medical Protocols Committee. I wanted to join that committee for several reasons. First, they make recommendations on vaccines, and I want to ensure we’re providing vaccines in our clinics that are effective, easy to use, and limit risk and side effects. There have also been updates to the canine life stage and feline vaccination guidelines, and I want those implemented company-wide.

Dr. Bryant: I also serve on the Medical Protocols Committee. I like working on this committee because, in my previous years in practice, I always took notice of industry changes and stayed current on the latest and greatest in these areas.

Dr. O’Connor: I am co-chair of the Medical Advisory Council’s Committee on Professional Development, Resources, and Training. Specifically, I organize PetIQ’s monthly education webinars open for all PetIQ doctors to attend. I initially chose this committee because of my passion for relevant continuing education. Our Wellness Centers and Community Clinics concentrate on preventive medicine. I wanted to make sure that all of our doctors had access to the most current information in that field.

Dr. Thurston: I serve on the Marketing Committee. In order to be accessible to the greatest number of families, PetIQ needs to increase our visibility and reinforce the message that we are affordable and convenient, and we offer the highest standard of care for the service we offer.

What does a successful advisory council look like to you?

Dr. O’Connor: It’s a think tank devoted to practicing the highest-quality veterinary medicine at PetIQ. It consists of 12 District Medical Directors as well as employed and contract veterinarians. This makeup reflects the makeup of PetIQ. Since it’s made up of doctors from across the country, we can have discussions and create solutions for issues that affect practicing doctors company-wide. Ultimately, this means a standardization for the practice of medicine in our Community Clinics and Wellness Centers across the country.

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