Individual privately owned Veterinary Medical practices are gradually becoming a thing of the past. For many years, the solo practice has dwindled for many reasons; namely, the cost of opening up and developing a practice. So the natural thing was for a solo Veterinarian to bring in associates. The practices grew and grew and the senior veterinarian got older and older. When it was time to slow down and retire, the natural thing was to sell to one or more of the associates. Occasionally, practices merged under one roof and the younger veterinarians took over. Well that was the past. Now, big corporations have arrived and they are buying up practices all over the country. They have been doing this for the last several years. I don’t mean just a few here and there. I mean hundreds of formally privately owned veterinary practices are now owned by big corporations. All over this country big business has been buying up small animal veterinary practices, discreetly, quietly and with little to no public awareness. On Long Island it has occurred also. Within the last few months several practices right here on the North Shore have been sold to corporations known as VCA or NVA. These include the Oyster Bay Animal Hospital, the Jericho Animal Hospital, and the Commack Animal Hospital. Most recently, the Hilton Hospital for Animals in Lynbrook was sold to one of the corporations and earlier this year the Baldwin Animal Hospital and the Massapequa Animal Hospital were also sold to one of these corporations. The other two practices in our area that are owned by big corporations are the Glen Animal Hospital in Seacliff and Animal General in East Norwich. There are many other corporation owned practices on Long Island and across the country. In fact, each corporation owns hundreds of Animal Hospitals and employ hundreds of veterinarians across America. Banfield is one of these corporations with over 800 locations. Corporations are also buying up emergency and speciality veterinary facilities here in Nassau County. So, what does this all mean to you the pet owner? Sorry, I ran out of space, read next weeks column for the answers.