Small Business

A Look at the Latest Veterinary Industry Trends

Nov. 07, 2022   |   Updated 10:00 AM ET

Following is a look at some of the most relevant current trends in the veterinary practice industry and current conditions, as of the fourth quarter, 2022.

 

The Veterinary Care Industry

  • There are currently 28,200 business operating in the veterinary care industry. These businesses employ 414,200 workers and generate $44 billion in annual revenue.
  • Most vet practices are small, private practices owned and operated by a licensed veterinarian. Nine out of 10 (89%) have a single location and a similar percentage (83%) have fewer than 20 employees.
  • The typical vet practice has 14-15 employees and generates $1.5 million in annual revenue.
  • About 75% of vets provide care primarily for companion animals; 10.5% care for food animals; and 5.6% for horses.
  • The largest veterinarian companies are VCA, Antech and Banfield Pet Hospitals (Medical Management International) through PetSmart.
  • About one-third (36%) of vet practices are female-owned, 9% are minority-owned and 8% are owed by military veterans.

 

Veterinary Practice Financials

  • Non-surgical treatments account for the highest percentage of veterinary practice revenue (29%). This is followed by routine exams (25%), lab services (16%), surgical treatments (16%) and food and other merchandise (14%).
  • The smallest and largest vet practices generate the highest revenue per employee. Practices with four or fewer employees generate about $145,000 annually per employee, while practices with 250 or more employees generate about $130,000 in annual revenue.
  • Sales of supplies and other pet care services account for between 10% and 15% of vet practice revenues, on average.
  • The average wage for nonsupervisory employees at vet practices was $21.24 in February 2021, up 5.9% from a year earlier, while employment at vet practices was up 7.1% from a year earlier.

 

Veterinary Industry Forecasts

  • Sales for the US veterinary practices are forecast to grow at a 7.47% compounded annual rate from 2021 to 2026, faster than the growth of the overall economy. 
  • This forecast growth by year breaks down as follows: 7.25% in 2023, 6.68% in 2024, 6.53% in 2025 and 6.49% in 2026.

 

Broad Industry Trends

  • Veterinary care accounts for one-third (33.5%) of total pet spending in the U.S. Meanwhile, total pet expenditures reached $99 billion in 2020 and are growing between 3% and 5% annually. Pets have become integral parts of families, and owners are demanding high quality health care. Pet ownership is steady, at about 65-68% of US households.
  • As pets live longer and develop conditions that require increasingly complex treatment plans, the demand for veterinary specialists is growing. Treatments such as the placement of stents, targeted chemotherapy and regenerative medicine are becoming more common for pets.
  • Many vet practices today are offering facilities and services similar to upscale doctor’s offices as pets become more “humanized.” These include more comfortable waiting rooms and bereavement counseling rooms.
  • Mobile practices are becoming a more appealing option for new vets right out of school and older, more experienced vets who want to downsize their practices. A mobile practice with a specially equipped vehicle can be started for as little as $100,000, compared to around $1 million for a traditional vet clinic.
  • The Pandemic forced the use of telehealth and curbside services, which created challenges, but practices have benefited overall. Curbside service has raised veterinary practice productivity by shifting lengthy in-person conversations in exam rooms between pet owners and vets into quick video or phone chats at the end of the appointment with the vet or a staff member. Firms are also benefiting from drive up service for prescription or pet food pickups. The use of veterinary telehealth services eliminates the need to prepare and clean exam rooms between patient visits and allows vets to see more pets. The need to see more pets per day has grown in importance as pet adoption surged during the pandemic. As distancing requirements ease, veterinary practices will decide whether to proceed with remote services.
  • Obesity is a growing problem among pets today. More than half of dogs (56%) and cats (60%) are considered obese, which can lead to chronic and preventable conditions such as diabetes and arthritis.

 

Source: Vertical IQ
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