2019 State of the Veterinary Profession

March 26, 2019

Reading the winds, and trends, in the veterinary marketplace

The 2019 State of the Veterinary Profession offered VMX attendees exclusive presentations featuring the latest industry trends and forecasts. Today’s Veterinary Business, an NAVC publication, partnered with Packaged Facts, Vetalytix, and the AVMA to bring together the leading experts in the fields of veterinary economics, animal health market intelligence and pet owner and consumer insights. Presenters included David Sprinkle from Packaged Facts, Matthew Salois from the AVMA and Chris Ragland from Vetalytix covering trends such as: 

  • •Changing consumer preferences driving new and different decision-making behaviors for Millennials
  • •How those behaviors are affecting the day-to-day performance of practices at local, state and regional levels
  • •Insights on general economic trends may affect practices in 2019

The following were key takeaways from the 2019 State of the Veterinary Profession.

Core vaccine growth spurred by mixed and low-cost providers 

Chart-1-Core Vaccine Dose Growth

According to Animalytix research, core doses continue to shift from traditional small animal practices toward low cost providers and mixed practice locations for both species. (See figure 1).

Canine, feline vaccine growth varies by region

Chart-2-Canine Core Vaccines

Canine core vaccine doses were robust in the Midwest and soft in other regions. Eastern and Western coastal markets for canine core vaccinations have continued generally to soften while Midwestern and Mountain regions have been more robust. (See figure 2).

Chart-3-Feline Core Vaccines

Meanwhile, feline market dynamics vary from dogs with negative growth occurring from the Midwest through New England (See figure 3).

Economic Tailwinds, and Headwinds

There are a lot of things about today’s economy that are good, according to a presentation by Dr. Matthew J. Salois, Ph.D., Chief Economist for the American Veterinary Medical Association. In his presentation, titled “Economic Tailwinds, Headwinds, and What’s Next in our Economy,” Dr. Salois listed those tailwinds as:

  • • Domestic GDP growth
  • • Low Unemployment
  • • Record Equity Markets
  • • Household Income Expanding
  • • Low Inflation (but rising)
  • • Consumer Spending Strong (for now)

  • • Rising U.S. Debt-Income Ratio
  • • Dwindling of the Middle Class
  • • Growing Income Inequality
  • • Homeownership Rates Falling
  • • Tech Stocks/Equity Volatility
  • • Trade Uncertainty

However, some headwinds to keep an eye on include:

Industry impact

Chart-4-Number of visits

Dr. Salois provided some insights into how these economic trends are impacting the veterinary sector.

First, the number of visits to a veterinary clinic or hospital by dog-owning households has dipped from its peak of 130.4 in 2011, to 123.3 in 2016. (See figure 4)

Chart-5-Veterinary expenditures

However, total veterinary expenditures by dog-owning households has continued to be on the rise, reaching $19.1 billion in 2011, and 20.7 billion in 2016. (See figure 5) 

Editor’s Note: Look for information regarding the recent survey conducted by The American Veterinary Distributors Association (AVDA) and Packaged Facts in an upcoming issue of Vet-Advantage.