Despite suffering setbacks during lockdowns, the veterinary sector in the United Kingdom is expected to achieve rapid growth in the next five years (Mordor Intelligence, 2021). Technological advancements play a key part in this growth (Mordor Intelligence, 2021), particularly when it comes to diagnostic imaging equipment such as MRI and CT scanners. Given that 3.2 million households bought or adopted pets during the lockdown (BBC News, 2021), the need for high-level diagnostic imaging for small animal veterinary practices is expected to increase. However, with budgetary pressures and ongoing economic uncertainty, veterinary practitioners need to be strategic in planning investment in high-end diagnostic equipment.
Whether you’re setting up a clinic or simply considering an upgrade of your diagnostic assets, the first things to consider when investing in equipment or technology are the specific benefits and outcomes it will bring to your practice. Improved diagnostic capability, for example, enables more targeted treatments and therefore better patient outcomes. A happy, healthy patient also encourages loyalty to the practice and future business through referrals.
Thanks to digital advancements, a state-of-the-art CT scanner can extract the maximum amount of diagnostic information from measured data, including the smallest lesions or fractures
With more pets in households, the demand for veterinary services is likely to increase. Having access to the best diagnostic imaging equipment can help vets to respond to demand by providing more accurate and more efficient scans. Thanks to digital advancements, a state-of-the-art CT scanner can extract the maximum amount of diagnostic information from measured data, including the smallest lesions or fractures. This means more precise results from a scan and reduced distress to your pet patient thanks to quicker scan times.
MRI can broaden the clinical services offered by a practice. The latest MRI equipment can be used to evaluate injuries and diseases linked to the spinal cord, brain, muscular tissue, ligaments, nerves and canals, to name a few areas of application. The quality of images produced, alongside the speed and detail achieved, represent significant efficiencies in the diagnostic process.
Put simply, besides investing in additional scanners, veterinary practitioners would do well to focus on better, more precise equipment that can do more, and more quickly.
But while the benefits are clear, CT and MRI represent significant investments for a veterinary practice. With the disruption and uncertainty of the pandemic crisis, alongside the current concerns about the cost of living, many veterinary businesses may be hesitant to invest in new systems, preferring to preserve working capital for other operational expenses.
However, alongside traditional lines of credit, several specialist financing options are emerging that will support investment without the need for a large initial capital outlay, making investment financially sustainable. These include:
Transition finance: financing that delays paying for a new system or solution until it has been set up, trialed and tested, thus avoiding paying for both original and replacement technology at the same time.
Technology upgrade: arrangements that provide the option to upgrade or add to the technology, either during or at the end of the financing period, offering protection against technology obsolescence.
Pay-for-outcomes: finance payments are arranged to align with the expected benefits that result from the use of the technology, such as improved operational efficiency.
Financing arrangements have the potential to incorporate other costs such as installation, as well as introducing the flexibility of future affordable equipment upgrades in line with technology developments
By using specialist financing arrangements, veterinary practices can deploy precious funds in other areas to improve service quality. Financing arrangements have the potential to incorporate other costs such as installation, as well as introducing the flexibility of future affordable equipment upgrades in line with technology developments.
Tailored, all-encompassing financing packages tend to be offered by specialist financiers who have an in-depth understanding of veterinary equipment and its applications. They understand the profound impact up-to-date technology can bring to the daily business of a veterinary practice and can expertly evaluate any associated risks. They are therefore more capable of creating customised financing packages that fit the specific requirements of a veterinary establishment – for instance, flexing the financing period to suit the organisation’s cash flow. This contrasts with the standard financing terms usually available from generalist financiers who can lack a thorough understanding of the veterinary sector, as well as technical expertise.
For veterinary practices to continue to deliver the best possible care to their patients, they require access to the most effective imaging technologies. Given the costs of upfront investment, specialist finance remains a prime option for businesses to acquire equipment and maintain competitive advantage.