Since it began in November, XLVets has grown to a network of over 60 vets across Canada, and they collaborate with over 700 vets globally.

In this interview, Progressive Dairyman editorial intern Maddy Quast discusses with Dr. Brent Fawcett, president of XLVets Canada, and Kassie Jansen, communications coordinator for Proventus Group, how this network is changing veterinarians’ practices in Canada and beyond.

Q. What is XLVets Canada?

FAWCETT: XLVets Canada is a new business to Canada. It’s a community of independently owned, progressive veterinarian practices that can work together to share knowledge, experience and skills.

Although XLVets is new to Canada, XLVets globally is not a new concept. There’s an XLVets in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand.


Q. Why was there a need for XLVets in Canada?

FAWCETT: Traditionally, vets everywhere work independently. In every location where there are animals, there are vets [who] have a private practice and run their practices independently.

We felt there was a need to enhance the quality of our practices for our clients. We believed we could accomplish that by creating a forum where independent vets can work together better.

Within this model, every individual member practice remains independently owned and operated, and free to practice how they’d like. But within the group, they can collaborate with every other vet to help each other become better.

That was our goal: to work together as a team to help every practice be the best they can be.

Around the world, there are some practices that are pretty good at collaborative thinking and working together. But in North America, it’s not very often done in a formal way, where there’s an agreement or business structure.

Q. How will it impact the Canadian dairy industry?

FAWCETT: I think it will be very positive. Dairy in Canada is becoming more and more challenging. There are more pressures on dairy farmers. Margins are tighter, revenue is decreasing, and expenses are increasing.

As farm and dairy vets in Canada, we know we need to step up our practices so we can help our clients become more profitable. The end goal of XLVets is to make our practices better so we can serve our clients better.

If you look at the demographics in Canada, there are dairy practices ranging from single practitioners to 12-vet practices. On a global scale, 12 vets working together is small.

Although it’s a pretty good start, if we can have practices that have access to 60 or 600 practices, we’ll be sharing ideas and pushing ourselves to be better dairy practitioners. That will certainly help the dairy producer.

Q. Can you give an example of how this collaboration has helped a farmer client?

FAWCETT: XLVets is a shareholder in a new company called Proventus. Proventus directly works with farmers to help them better.

JANSEN: XLVets and Proventus have a tight relationship. XLVets works to improve each veterinarian. But they also saw a need for the dairy industry to access these vets.

Proventus is a consulting company for dairy and beef producers in Canada, and we have partnered with XLVets to gain access to the vets. It’s a really good chance for collaboration.

Proventus is unbiased, so we’re not trying to sell services or commercial products. It’s solely about improving the farm and helping the farmer in whatever he or she needs. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem on the farm; it can just be something like improving bottom line.

It also gives XLVets a good chance to show their knowledge base and to collaborate together nationwide across Canada, and to be able to help dairy farmers grow and improve their practices.

Q. How will XLVets collaborate on a global scale?

FAWCETT: XLVets [Canada] will work with XLVets Global. We’ll be sharing ideas, knowledge and skills within Canada, but also be part of a forum with vets in the UK, New Zealand and Ireland.

Q. What can you learn from other countries that will be beneficial to Canada?

FAWCETT: Our relationship with veterinarians in other countries gives us a little insight into our future. For example, dairy has changed a lot in the UK. In the past, they’ve gone through pressures we haven’t yet.

Dairy producers have dealt with the loss of supply management, the loss of domestic and export markets, and disease. It put pressures on those farmers that we haven’t realized in Canada.

Hopefully, we never will, but it gives us an idea of how vets can work with farmers in an area with those challenges. We know if we can work together in Canada to help farmers like they are in other parts of the world, without those challenges, then our network can be even more successful.

Q. How can people find out more about you?

FAWCETT: On our website for XLVets.

JANSEN: Proventus' website can be found here. We also have a Facebook page, and we’ll be looking into more social media as the business grows. The website is the best resource right now for more information.  end mark