Questions we are asked about IVPA and more about our association
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  • IVPA stands for the Independent Veterinary Practitioners Association.  IVPA is a trade association that represents the special interests and needs of independent veterinary practitioners.  The association aims to promote the value of independent practitioners to animal owners, advocate within the veterinary profession, and act as a resource to our members.

  • IVPA is incorporated as a trade association and has tax exempt status.

  • It is clear the veterinary profession is at a crossroads, as the business entities responsible for delivering care change.  Veterinary hospitals are increasingly owned by not-for-profits and national chains, changing the relationship between veterinarians, their clients, and their patients.  IVPA believes locally owned practices contribute to the fabric of their communities like no other business entity.  Veterinarians who own and work in independently owned veterinary practices are pillars of their community, contributing to the economic and cultural wellness of their communities.  IVPA was formed to promote the unique value that independent veterinary practitioners deliver and to fill their special needs for advocacy and support.
  • IVPA was incorporated in the spring of 2017.

The clinical and business practice of veterinary medicine continues to grow in complexity as the delivery of veterinary care is influenced by the nationalization of veterinary practices across species and specialties and an increase in delivery of care by animal welfare organizations.  While the AVMA invests heavily in the financial and overall well-being of veterinarians, there is no organization that focuses only on the unique needs of independent practitioners.

IVPA will focus on:

1.  Promoting the value of veterinary care delivered by locally owned practices to animal owners.

2.  Assisting members in utilizing the many services already available within organized  veterinary medicine.

3.  Representing the special interests of our members both internal and external to the veterinary profession.

  1.  Establish and grow our membership.
  2.  Engage our membership in establishing the association infrastructure.
  3.  Develop alliances with groups focused on promoting the value of locally owned businesses to consumers.
  4.  Become the expert in resources benefitting our members.
  5.  Define a strategy for raising funds to support advocacy for member services.
  6.  With the direction of our members, develop a strategic plan for providing member services.
  1.  Lower the barriers to practice ownership by veterinarians
  2.  Support market competition and diversity in the entities delivering veterinary care to animal owners
  3.  Promote the value of independently owned, locally delivered veterinary care to consumers
  4.  Advocate for the special interests of independent practitioners internal and external to the profession

IVPA is unique in that it supports only the special interests and needs of veterinary practitioners who own their practice or work in a locally owned practice — no matter the species focus, specialty or size of the practice.

The AVMA provides services and support to veterinarians like no other trade association.  It is imperative that you continue your membership with the AVMA.  While the AVMA is an umbrella organization that unites veterinarians from different segments, IVPA intends to focus on the very special needs of independent veterinary practitioners.  By maintaining your AVMA membership and joining IVPA, you increase your influence across organized medicine.

There are currently five membership levels in the IVPA:  Practice Owner ($95 annually), Veterinarian ($75 annually), Affiliate ($125 annually),  Paraprofessional and Student (both currently at no cost).  These membership levels and costs are subject to change as our member benefits expand.  More information is available about these levels on the Membership or Join page of this website.

There are five types of membership.

Practice Owner:  Independent owners of locally operated (i.e., not part of a national corporation) practices are encouraged to join at the Practice Owner level.  IVPA members may own practices at multiple locations, so long as they are not part of a nationwide corporation or funded with venture capital.  These restrictions are further defined at the Hospital level description on the Join page of this website.  Current cost is $95 annually.

Veterinarian:  Any practicing or retired veterinarian who does not own a practice is encouraged to join the IVPA at this level.  Current cost is $75 annually.  Member benefits and restrictions are described on the Join page.

Affiliate:  Anyone who derives income from providing goods or services to independent practitioners can join the IVPA at this level.  Current cost is $125 annually.  Affiliate member benefits are further described on the Join page.

Paraprofessional:  Professional staff of veterinary clinics or hospitals are asked to join at this level.  There is currently no cost to join.

Student:  All veterinary students or college students intending to pursue a career in veterinary medicine are encouraged to join the IVPA.  There is currently no cost to join at the Student level.

NOTE:  Membership costs and types will change as IVPA grows and members shape its operation.

The IVPA Board of Directors is currently considering accepting Sponsors who share our same strategic goals; that is, to promote the value and interests of independently owned and locally operated veterinary practices.  The IVPA currently has several Affiliate members (as opposed to Sponsors).  Affiliates have expressed an interest in promoting the Association and its members and regularly provide valuable products and services to our members.  We feature our Affiliate members on a separate page on our website and welcome their participation in Association activities.  We will announce any future decision to accept Sponsorships.

The IVPA is currently funded strictly through membership fees and private donations.  We do not at this time have corporate sponsors, and no decision has been made to accept corporate sponsorships.

Most importantly, in an independently owned practice veterinarians lead the organization in setting medical standards for their individual patients at the local level.

An independently owned and locally operated veterinary practice is a practice where:

  • Owner(s) is(are) engaged in management (hire staff, manage financials, set strategy, etc.) and operation (deliver patient care, manage clients, etc.) of the practice.
  • Medical standards are set at the practice level by the practice owner(s) and/or staff.
  • May be incorporated as a business to protect assets and limit liability (e.g., “S” or “C” corporations, Limited Liability Company).
  • May own multiple locations but continues to contribute to medical and management decision making at the hospital level.

In contrast to an independently owned and locally operated veterinary practice, a national veterinary chain is owned by a publicly controlled company or by a large privately held company with business interests located nationwide or internationally.

Most importantly, in a nationally owned veterinary chain, medical standards are set by the company.  Individual patient care is determined by standards set by centrally, remotely located executive managers and is heavily influenced by the mission of the corporation — that is, to deliver a return on investor money.

National chains have:

  • Centralized management that handles:
    • Human resources, to include hiring, firing and training personnel
    • Purchasing; e.g., drugs, equipment and new practices
  • Has layers of middle management; e.g., regional or local medical directors
  • Benefits from economy of scale