Edgemoor is a dedicated 100% Small Animal Practice based in North Yorkshire. We currently have 3 surgeries employing 4 vets, 2 RVN's 3 Trainee VN’s and a team of receptionists.
We have been taking part in Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) since 2009 when we first started we had approximately 75 rabbit clients, but as a result of RAW have seen that number increase by 60% to around 120 rabbit clients to date. Considering each rabbit client spends approximately £50 - £60 every year - that equates to an additional £2,700 turnover per year because of RAW and of course over the lifetime of these rabbits (10 years or more) that will be an additional £27,000 turnover.
Just last year alone we saw around 15 brand new rabbit clients join us because of attending the Free Health Checks during RAW. I also think RAW helped us to focus and improve on the services we already provided to our current rabbit clients.
Even though RAW run the national communications campaign to make people aware of the Free Health Checks, we found it was also beneficial to do more localized awareness raising ourselves, especially to get the ‘new' rabbit clients in.
To advertise our Free Health checks and other promotions and activities we sent letters out to all our existing rabbit clients, and did a promotional advertisement in a local magazine which is mailed out to local businesses and houses, to attract new rabbit owners in to practice.
We also did a display on our practice notice board within our waiting room highlighting Rabbit Awareness Week and Free Health checks available. It was also advertised on our website.
All worked well and got people to make appointments for their rabbits to be seen by a vet but maybe the mail-out in particular worked well, as it brought clients and their rabbits back into the surgery that we hadn't seen for a while. In fact this also gave us an opportunity to talk to them about their other animals too!
I would most definitely recommend all small animal practices to support RAW. We should all make sure that we do all we can for our fibrevore friends and RAW is a good way to do so. It is also a good way to interact with rabbit clients (through running different promotions and activities), bringing them into practice. We shouldn't overlook these clients as rabbits are now the third most popular pet, and there are lots of things we can do to keep rabbits healthy and as I mentioned before if the owners have lapsed in bringing their rabbits in to practice, there is an opportunity in reminding them about any other pets they have as well. All of which is great for business too!
It is well worth investing in rabbit ‘expertise' for RAW. It has personally encouraged me to undertake more rabbit CPD so that I am able to offer the best nursing care available to rabbits in practice - which hopefully in turn is beneficial for both rabbits and business. Also I feel that treatment and diets available for rabbits are always improving and changing so it is necessary to keep up to date with CPD etc.
There are other benefits to taking part in RAW too. One of the most important areas of rabbit health relates to being given the correct diet and therefore we recommended and promoted Excel! As a result I personally feel that we sell more Excel now than we did say 4-5 years ago, before participating in RAW, and that also brings money into the business.
Miss Anna Marsden RVN
Acting Senior Veterinary Nurse