Exploring Veterinary Economics: Impact on the veterinary workforce of more veterinary school seats

In light of recent news related to the proposed creation of new U.S. veterinary schools, the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Economics Division conducted an economic analysis of how the veterinary workforce and, more specifically, the market for veterinary education may be affected by expanding the number of seats available to veterinary students.Econ-Chalkboard_350x228

This analysis is a reflection of the AVMA’s appropriate role as the national association representing the interests of its members. It does not take an opinion on the merits of the addition of new veterinary schools.

50 thoughts on “Exploring Veterinary Economics: Impact on the veterinary workforce of more veterinary school seats

  1. I have been in practice for 35 years. I practice in a lovely small town 3 hrs from LA and 3 hrs from mammoth My practice is exceedingly rewarding personally and financially
    I see hedgehogs to Great Danes. This week amputated the leg of a 30 gm lizard. After 35 yrs I still love going to the hospital. A wonderful blessing. It takes time skill and a willingness to try new things. My client love our willingness. I have school classes come and observe surgery. I have fun every day, but I need a veterinarian to come and work hard and take over so I can exit in 5-7yrs. No one answers my adds. Where are all these vets. I guess they want to treat flea allergy dermatitis six hours day in brentwood for $150,000 per year with no responsibilities. Dr Tom

  2. The problem rests equally with the schools. they all want to increase their enrolled numbers. perhaps it’s $ per student or ego building & increased salaries for teachers. 68 in my class graduated out of 70 that started. over 600 had applied. the current # is now over 170 graduating with 70% female. the AVMA is the only voice we have when it comes to legislation. They have failed to control #s of schools or students or face the problem that started many years ago.

    • Penn received over 1200 applications for 125 seats; 15 more seats than when I applied as an out-of-state student. The recent trend has been a dramatic decrease in state funding for veterinary medical schools; therefore, many market forces are at work among disparately incentivized players in veterinary medicine.

  3. To all those blaming the AVMA for these issues, you anger is misdirected. The AVMA has NO authority over the number of veterinary colleges, admission policies/requirements or class size. Accreditation is done by the Council on Education which has members appointed by the AVMA House is Delegates and the American Association of Veterinary Colleges. They are independent and report to the U.S. Dept of Education. All colleges must meet the same standards. Any effort by the AVMA would be a violation of federal law – restriction of trade.
    Class size have increased due to budget needs with the drastic reduction of state funds.
    For full disclosure, I was in private practice and owner for over 20 years and currently am on CVM faculty (teaching real world medicine and business mgt). I am also a current member of the AVMA House of Delegates where these issues have been discussed many times.

    • To state that the AVMA has no DIRECT authority over the COE accreditation process is an oversimplification of a tortuous and nontransparent morass of longstanding conflict-of-interest and nontransparent political complexity that has not been well received by the AVMA general membership. To wit: VIIN has consistently reported on these concerns over the past 5 years plus, primarily due to concerns by practitioners who perceive a lack of equity by academic board members and internal strife at COE. Perception by dues paying members who survive on real market financial forces is relevant and not trivial, as policy statements have not benefited US practitioners
      The corrections are not entirely satisfactory to the members critical of the process for its lack of expediency and necessary government oversight of the issues. Samples of VIN articles include the following;

      “Many close to the AVMA’s accreditation process praise the COE’s foreign accreditation system for distributing what’s been dubbed the “gold standard” of veterinary education internationally. Yet others fear that process is flawed, making the COE system vulnerable to external and internal pressures, political influence and excessive direction by the AVMA’s executive leadership. Critics argue that the system for vetting foreign programs is burdensome to the COE. The group is charged by the U.S. Department of Education with ensuring quality veterinary education in America; its foray into foreign markets is self imposed. What’s more, two competing testing systems already are in place to gauge the educational competency of foreign-trained veterinarians seeking work in the United States: the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates (ECFVG) and the Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence (PAVE).
      Graduates of COE-accredited programs can bypass these examinations and sit for the same national and state boards posed to graduates of U.S.-based programs. To date, the COE accredits nine foreign veterinary schools worldwide, including programs in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and Ireland. Most received the council’s nod during the past decade, as part of the AVMA’s self-imposed charge to become the “premier” global accrediting authority.
      “Obviously there’s something, that 900 concerns and complaints came to us,” said Arthur Rothkopf, NACIQI vice chairman and president emeritus of Lafayette College. “It’s very extraordinary to have this number. Obviously there’s a political problem here, some kind of internal politics.”
      The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), an 18-member oversight committee within USDE, addressed the volume of complaints against the AVMA when it ordered the agency last Thursday to reach out to critics.

      “Obviously there’s something, that 900 concerns and complaints came to us,” said Arthur Rothkopf, NACIQI vice chairman and president emeritus of Lafayette College. “It’s very extraordinary to have this number. Obviously there’s a political problem here, some kind of internal politics.”
      In December 2012, NACIQI ordered the COE to make 14 major changes to how it accredits domestic programs. The directives included to become more transparent, consistent, inclusive and to weed out conflicts of interest.
      Leininger, a former AVMA president who was kicked off the COE last spring after publicly stating concerns that the council’s resources were spread thin by accrediting foreign programs, caught NACIQI’s attention. She laid out details of the seemingly inadequate training provided to COE members and the lack of time they had to review documents — limitations that are accepted because the AVMA holds the political power and purse strings.
      “I believe I have the responsibility to inform NACIQI of the dysfunctional and rampant conflicts of interest that exist today and will continue to exist until NACIQI suspends (the COE),” Leininger stated. “Ladies and gentlemen of the committee, you are looking at issues that impact my profession. What you do matters.”
      Officials with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City wants the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to take a second look at the institution’s veterinary medical program following a recent decision to deny it U.S. accreditation.
      The COE’s stamp of approval allows students of foreign programs to circumvent costly and time-consuming U.S. foreign graduate equivalency exams and sit for the same state and national boards posed to graduates of American veterinary medical programs. To date, the COE accredits nine foreign veterinary schools worldwide, including programs in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and Ireland. Most have received the council’s nod during the past decade, as part of the AVMA’s self-imposed charge to become the “premier” global accrediting authority. UNAM is the first of an estimated 30 veterinary programs in Mexico to seek U.S. accreditation.

      Earning that status has not been easy for UNAM, plagued by widespread criticism that the veterinary program is substandard compared with U.S. veterinary education. Opened in the 1950s, the veterinary program admits students out of high school without an entrance exam. At any one time, there might be more than 2,000 students studying to be veterinarians at UNAM, yet only 65 percent graduate.

      Others in the United States fear that the COE’s accreditation of UNAM could send a flood of Mexican practitioners migrating north, taking jobs from American graduates that are already saddled by low starting salaries and high educational debt. While the price tag for earning a DVM in the United States can reach upwards of $200,0000, tuition at UNAM, the country’s largest university with 270,000-plus students enrolled annually, is heavily subsidized by the state and amounts to roughly $100 per semester, regardless of a student’s ability to pay.”

      The problems and solutions seem to be clear to the dues paying membership, while the process and it’s associated imbroglios are anything but.

    • The AVMA is supposed to exist to be our voice, yet they pick and choose which topics to have an opinion on, regardless of how important those topics are to their dues paying members.

  4. How about some personal responsibility. Don’t accept loans you can’t pay off, think about what you want & will it sustain you when you get there. The AVMA had this study done to push this issue forward & look at solutions not just hear people groin & complain. Try mentoring, educating, volunteering for your local, state, or AVMA if you want to make a change & be part of the solution! Veterinary medicine is an amazing profession that I encourage people to consider, but there’s a lot to think about & improvement to be made to preserve & sustain the profession.

  5. We are saddened by what AVMA is allowing to happen to our profession. We strongly advise students not to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine. We are getting quotes from the alternative insurance companies and plan to stop paying dues to AVMA for our seven veterinarians as soon as possible. We used to have respect for the AVMA and felt it was our responsibility to support our profession by being members. Only about 15% of doctors are AMA members. AVMA may want to consider their future membership trajectory.

  6. Given the workplace attitude of many of the recent grads in the past 10-15 years, and lack of comprehension that they now belong to a profession, I wonder if we have not traded quality for mere quantity. The predominant statements coming from the recent members of our profession seem to focus on trexting, tweeting, going home early, what they don’t do (emergencies, holiday shifts, night calls, overtime or coming in on time) and vacations to Las Vegas. I may be old enough to be their grandfather, but service to those that value their pets as family members never went out of style, and these same shallow persons are often the ones who demand the most out of others with self-indignant outrage when not catered to according to them. A few less individuals who were truly dedicated to their charges and seen to care by our clients would make a huge difference to the rest of us.

    • As a future new graduate, I would hope that my future colleagues within this wonderful profession would be willing to reserve judgment on the quality of medicine I will practice until they’ve had a chance to see me in action. I would be willing to guarantee that the vast majority of my classmates are in this profession to make a difference in the lives of animals and their owners. Just because we may place a different value on work/life balance does not make us lazy or bad for the profession. There is a generational gap between the way things were done in the past and how we are moving forward. Doing things differently from the way they’ve traditionally been done is not “wrong,” it is just different. I sincerely hope that even if I have an emphasis on taking care of my own health (physical, mental, emotional), I will still be a good veterinarian, and continue to advocate for my patients to the best of my ability. Yes, there are some new grads who may not be the best representation of our profession, but I would argue that there are some practitioners that have been out for 20-30 years who similarly misrepresent our profession. We are all human, we all have our unique flaws and failings, but there are still many new graduates out there (with whom I will hopefully count myself in a few years), who practice high quality medicine, who have a passion for educating clients and serving their pets, and who want to make a positive difference in veterinary medicine. It sound like you have had bad experiences in the past with new graduates, but please don’t judge me and the rest of my future colleagues by the unfortunate actions of a few.

  7. As a retired general practice veterinarian for 43 years, I agree with all the previous comments. Adding more schools and students would be doing a disservice to future students and present practitioners.The main problem is the low incomes for the investment in time and student debt now required of students, not numbers of veterinarians. We have gotten to the point where our services and abilities can no longer be afforded by the vast majority of clients. Drug expense as well as equipment costs and facilities are rapidly outpacing income. I hate to say it but the golden era of making a good living in veterinary medicine seems to be past. The sooner the associations and schools start listening to the professional members in the trenches, the better it will be for veterinary medicine. Simple economics of supply and demand needs to be understood. How do you think medical doctors would do if they didn’t have insurance payers, free drug samples or subsidies which our profession lacks in the majority of cases? I enjoyed 43 years of practice but I honestly can’t recommend to a young person to pursue veterinary medicine as a career. One can pursue an easier, less time consuming, less expensive education, higher paying career, less debt required and better working conditions in many other fields. Listen to the veterinary membership for once.They have spoken about this for years. No increase in numbers of students admitted and new schools or this beloved profession may slowly continue to decline in quality and affordable livelihood. We need to be honest when talking with young people considering a veterinary career at this time.

  8. if the avma represents our interests, why has in allowed class sizes to increase over the past 20 years?

    • Veterinarians in practice seem to see the writing on the walls, but the real ugly truth of all this is that veterinary care is becoming more and more unaffordable. The usual supply and demand factors don’t work here. As more vets compete for a finite client pool, then prices must go up. And the solution is more vets? Holy smokes the solution is how can we make vet care more affordable, I suggest one way is not having a huge tuition loan hanging around your neck,

      Nowadays you see more and more vets building a practice with marketing techniques. A new clinic opens -not to fill a void in vet care, but to take another bite out of the pie. They essentially are going after other practice’s clients. And so, the prices must go up for everyone to stay in business. In my area mobile vaccine clinics are the only way many people can afford routine vaccinations.

      The fact that 60% of pets are not receiving veterinary care should rouse the AVMA’s interest more than it seems to. If the AVMA believes it’s “experts” who say the answer is hold the course (more schools/larger class sizes), I think that says enough about where the interests lie. Veterinary medicine is too much about money and not enough about increasing access to vet care.

      It’s so sad to meet young vet grads who become quickly disillusioned as they go into the meat grinders of corporate practice, trapped in a profession driven by money and expensive technology most people cannot afford.

      I will continue to practice as long as I can in a way that allows as many people to afford pet care — as long as I can pay my ever-rising drug bills!

  9. I dropped my PLIT last year and went with the coverage offered by my state VMA, which was cheaper and better. The attorneys were better compensated, local (so better versed with state laws and regulations), and a much higher caliber. No question on that one.

    I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that this is even an issue. As someone previously stated, I am not an economist, but the problem is blatantly obvious. Not only is the AVMA allowing new schools to open by basically assuring them accreditation, but these are private, for-profit schools. The cost for state run schools is already over the top, now factor in a profit margin.

    I have a huge exception with the new school in Arizona, as I have two of my former volunteers that are now students. First, what does it say about your program when very few of your faculty are veterinarians? MDs and PhDs (PhD alone, not combined with DVM/VMD or in a comparative discipline) should not be the ones teaching our veterinary students. I have already heard the horror stories of incorrect anatomy lessons and the frustration in trying to learn in these situations. One student openly told me he felt very fortunate this school opened so it gave students like him a chance to be a veterinarian because there was no other way it would ever happen (speaking to the quality and caliber of students), which chilled me to my core. They market this school on being “shiny’- everything is new, the latest and greatest, so new students don’t see the flaws, lack of established curriculum, accreditation, etc. All of this at a price tag of $350,000+ and I hope you get a job to help eventually pay that off when you leave.

    The debate has long been raging about what is truly required to be accredited and how that does not seem to be the case anymore. The AVMA does not follow the requirements, but has their own loose interpretation and quickly stamps their seal of approval once a school has jumped through whatever hoops the AVMA decides they need to and voila! Accreditation is granted. Regardless of what their members have been crying about for years regarding the true market, their studies show differently and that is where they form their opinions to share with the world. Oh, wait- they said they didn’t form opinions on this…

    • And don’t get me started on accrediting Caribbean and European schools. WTF. Just what we need , an extra 700 grads coming in from the EU and elsewhere.

  10. In reading the “Impact on the Veterinary Workforce of more Veterinary School seats” by Michael Dicks,PhD, I don’t see anything particularly new. This is exactly what us old dinosaurs have been predicting for 40 years. I was admitted to vet school in 1969. We were told the admission ration was close to 10 to 1 (maybe they lied to us). Now we are down to 1.5 headed to 1. We can no longer claim that veterinary students are the cream of the crop. Some of us old codgers may not use the language of the man-power studies, but we understand supply and demand. We may not be economists, but we understand how financial markets work. Just because the profession will look different in the future than it did for me, doesn’t mean that it’s bad, but in this case I think we are looking at too many negative indicators for the future. I know that old men have always been saying that “the country is going to Hell”, but today I fear that our profession, much like many aspects of our country and government, are truly headed in the wrong direction. We don’t seem to have the will or the ability to change our down hill slide. I don’t see anything in Dr. Dicks’ article that would give me any hope for our profession for the future.

  11. I have only been out of school for 6 years but started up my own practice 4 years ago. As the practice expands, I have rapidly realized that I do not agree with a majority of the positions that the AVMA holds. I would quit my membership in a heartbeat if it weren’t for the insurance products (PLIT specifically). Can anyone out there point me to a specific company that has good professional liability insurance? If I can find a suitable alternative to PLIT, I will quit the AVMA immediately.

  12. The trend first became somewhat clear to me in 1996 when I wrote a JAMVA commentary on it, but that’s old news.

    In addition to the new schools, there has also been a somewhat quiet but significant expansion of class size in a number of established schools where initial accreditation is not an issue. The AVMA probably should take a position, but so should veterinary school deans and state licensing boards. Over the years, IMHO the state boards have made the most progress – AVMA is about 20 years behind, and I have seen very little from AAVMC that would aid in resolving the problem.

    I’ve met a number of wonderful young people who really want to be veterinarians. We’ve had to discuss that they may well end up living a very altruistic, if not impoverished, existence. Almost all continue on anyway, which speaks a great deal to their dedication – I hope they can maintain it in the face of existing economics, let alone those of the future.

  13. As a recent graduate (Ross 2014) I can tell you first hand the cost of vet school is only 1 angle of the problem. The other problem is the companies that service the student loans. Our federal loans are sold to private companies as soon as we get out of school. The interest rate is capped at 8%. Right now mine is at 7.9%. Also the interest on the loans is capitalized every year. So the first year, on a $300,000 loan the interest is 23,700. In year 2 the loan is now $323,700 and the interest is now $25,572; in year 3 the loan is now $349,272. This makes the loan about 50K more in just 3 years. Vet school is very expensive, but the usury rates charged by the loan servicers is what will kill us. Along that line, I, personally expect to die owing student loan money.

    • I feel sorry for you, but you took out the loans to go to a private veterinary school that charges usury rates in tuition too (plus the living expenses on an island and the travel costs). My own student loan for graduate school was at 8%. So your rates are not that high, you just made a very bad economic decision. I only borrowed about 20% of what we expected our salaries would be after my PhD and was able to pay off the loans and purchase a house during the 10 years the loan term ran. Unfortunately, you are the classic example of what many experienced (yes, older) people posting here are concerned about – you should have said veterinary school was not worth it and moved on to another career. It would be nice if veterinarians giving advice to young people wanting to go to veterinary school would show them this sort of example before they make a bad economic decision. There are many many fulfilling careers in addition to veterinary medicine, I’ve been in several of them. (They paid a lot better too.)

  14. I qualify as an old veterinarian having graduated in 1961. When we were admitted there were 8 qualified applicants for each seat in the College of Veterinary Medicine that I attended. Now , if what I read is correct, there are 1.6 qualified applicants for each seat. Also in the olden times it was not uncommon for there to be a severe weeding out from the student body during the 4 years of vet school. I am concerned for the future of our profession. As one of our professors told us at the end of our 1st term that in giving grades he had 4 responsibilities, one was to be fair to the individual, second to be fair to the others in the class, third to be fair to the society we were to serve and finally to be fair and protect our profession. We need to think about where we are headed.

  15. The impact of an expansion of veterinary graduates is probably beyond the scope of this DVM of 50 years. Simple economics indicates when any market is over supplied the price goes down. I am sure this is difficult for the liberal elitist academe to compute. I am sure as long as they can keep driving up their fees and put the cost on the backs of the students…. they will do it. the obama student loan takeover has be a disaster for student and veterinary practices. It is a classic redistribution of dollars. Colleges get big increases and the business of veterinary delivery pays inflated salaries to help pay off the loans. I hire many doctors that are harnessed with big loans. They must delay buying into a practice and put off buying a home. Only vet school and corporate venture veterinary acquisition companies come out ahead. Vet schools control the price and venture firms will control the the market.

    We may be at a tipping point, but the marketplace will decide. One thing I am sure of is that the students and our client will pay the price if the wrong decision is made.

    • Dr. Lanier has a good handle on the situation. American universities are really hedge funds. Unfortunately the electorate buys the propaganda coming from them and the current administration in Washington.

  16. Good article. This problem seems pretty straight forward as set fourth by Dr. Dicks. So now that the AVMA has done a study to determine what anyone with a brain knew before the study, what are they going to do for the benefit of our profession and the patients that we treat. My prediction is that the AVMA will do its usual; exactly nothing. The AVMA essentially has veto power over the opening of new schools. They can simply refuse accreditation. But they won’t as has been witnessed repeatedly as this debate rages on.
    Sadly the AVMA is, truly, only as good as its insurance products. Oh, and they provide us a presence in Washington, whatever good hat does. It seems that the most worthy thing that the AVMA has done recently is to clear Santa’s reindeer for his Christmas Eve flight……..

  17. This article is one more reason we need a new organization to represent veterinarians. The DVM/VMD degree has such a low return on investment – only a PhD in Philosophy is worse.
    The veterinary profession needs to be honest with potential vets – I do not agree that what we do is not that hard. I think it requires skills in many areas: surgery, medicine, client relations, business management, employee relations and on top of that if we don’t get it right the first time our clients may elect to euthanize our patients! If we cost too much our patients are no more! Human doctors have so much less to concentrate on and make so much more money. We are held immediately accountable to the paying end of the leash – no government is underwriting the cost of veterinary care. If you never want to own your home or have children maybe it’s ok but if your plans for the future include these you may be disappointed! The young kids applying today don’t get that and it is our responsibility as a profession to prepare them for reality and just be honest about what it takes to be a veterinarian. People have no idea how educated we are and all the roles we play and pressures we work under.
    That all needs to be put on the table if we are to lower our profession’s suicide rates and ridiculous debt burdens.

  18. after graduating from undergrad it took me 2 years to due to being out of state.I was speaking to a recent Ross graduate recently,her loan debt is $373,000,I feel very sorry,good luck getting a job,a car and a place to live,RIDICULOUS

  19. We do not need to produce large numbers of new veterinarians right now – at least not small animal veterinarians. Do you not see what has been happening to our profession? A few large companies are buying up excellent established small animal practices all over the country, promising the hard-working owner who built the practice that he or she will be able to concentrate on veterinary medicine while they handle advertising, billing, reminders, etc. Then they promptly fire the former owner, cause all the other doctors who work there to immediately start looking for new jobs, and piss-off all the faithful clients by demanding that they start over with complete blood tests, all new vaccinations, etc., even if the animal has been a patient there its entire life and they have the complete medical records to prove that everything is up-to-date. The first bill for all this can be $700+. Then they hire new inexperienced doctors just out of school with no real clinical experience at a low salary to be the doctors. If this new business plan is not eliminated quickly, no one in his or her right mind would want to be a veterinarian! I hope equine and food animal practices will not be next!

  20. It has been said that the president of the Teachers Association, when asked, “When are you going to support the children?” replied, “When they grow up and become teachers.”

  21. AVMA takes no opinion!!! What the hell are they doing? if true, this means the start of a decline in quality of graduates, salaries, and the respect for the profession. I fear for the future of our profession. The AVMA needs to take a stand. Can anything be done about the additional schools? We have quality graduates in great part because we have quality applicants and competitive admissions. I dread the idea of a future where nearly every applicant gets into school. Given the unwillingness to fail out students most schools have, we will be faced with unqualified Veterinarians practicing in the near future.

    • As a member of an admissions committee I see more qualified applicants than there are seats available.
      I also see a shift in interest away from companion animal medicine toward equine, wildlife and conservation medicine.

      • There may be a shift towards more interest in equine or wildlife & conservation medicine, but are there more jobs there? Unlikely.

      • I am sure there are many qualified applicants. The question is, do they have the resources to pay your inflated fees. Your comment that the are looking at wildlife, conservation and equine is not a good answer. Equine med requires much physical capability. It may pay well but I suspect that since most grads are female the will fine it a short professional career. I have been in practice 50 years and still find it very rewarding but I do not think I could have lasted in equine. As for wildlife/ conservation …. small market that in most cases feeds of my tax dollars. see my comment below

        • Thanks for your input, Richard. While i am not in disagreement with most of your comments here, I must say that it is my experience that women do an amazing job in equine as well as all other veterinary disciplines. As i am sure you will agree, there are sensible ways to get the job done by vets of all body sizes, shapes, strengths. Gender is a non-issue.

          • For over 20 years our small animal veterinary hospital has cared for thousands of sick and injured wildlife at no charge because there is no funding. The wildlife rehab groups try to raise funds from the public and work on a shoestring. In Florida there is no money available from the government. I wish the new graduates good luck finding a paid position in wildlife or conservation medicine.

          • William, why don’t we hold hands a dance around a tree while a rainbow shines. Your comment is not only politically correct it’s inaccurate. It shows your lack of understanding about the direction of veterinary medicine. I am embarrassed by the direction our profession is going. If there are 100,000 graduated non retired active veterinarians, only 91,000 holding a position within the profession. What do you tell the 9,000 graduates that cannot get a job in today’s market. Graduating more and building more schools is not the answer, it is the destruction of our profession. We are in this spiral downfall right now and something has to give. If the AVMA will not have an opinion on the subject with all this testimonial from its members, who will.

    • If you are worried about competence and qualifications ask the AVMA about the pressure from special interest groups to admit unqualified students for racial/ethnic reasons. Every Year there is propaganda about “diversity” which is in reality affirmative action. They went so far as to assert that clients would like to see someone who looks like they do on the other side of the exam table. I would think the client’s primary focus would be to have someone qualified on the other side of the exam table.
      The JAVMA journal refused to print several letters I sent voicing my concern about affirmative action in admissions.
      I guess they weren’t PC enough for them.
      Removing the AVMA from the Chicago area would be a good start to reforming it.

  22. No one thinks the AVMA cares for it’s members. If it wasn’t for the insurance products, there would be no members. I can’t wait to quit either.

    • Totally agree Bill. The AVMA is selling us out to pharmacies and large pet product corporations. Individual Veterinarian is getting hammered on a daily basis while they pump more and more vet’s out of school who have a huge school debt and unrealistic expectations.

      • We want out of the AVMA badly, but decidedly against due to the insurance plans. They no longer represent our interest

    • There are many other insurance products available, so being held hostage by the insurance will no longer sustain the AVMA membership.
      Make a stand and send a message:


      • There ARE many alternative insurance plans now available. I signed up for better coverage, for a cheaper premium, with Wells Fargo.

        After 29 years, I have decided not to renew my AVMA membership.

        They don’t care about their members, they don’t listen to their membership, and they do nothing for the individual veterinarian.

        • Maybe I can just leave this here:
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  23. OK, if I can’t comment after the article, I’ll comment here. Actually, I’ll make 2 comments:

    1) here is part of the prelude to the report – “This analysis is a reflection of the AVMA’s appropriate role as the national association representing the interests of its members. It does not take an opinion on the merits of the addition of new veterinary schools.”

    If the AVMA actually represented the interests of its members, it damn well would take an opinion on the merits of the addition of new veterinary schools.

    2) Even though I like economics, I am not qualified to comment on the accuracy of the projections presented. I would like to discuss a different aspect of this report, one which I have not seen brought up in this or in other discussions. And, in doing so, I realize I am going to sound like a, walked uphill both ways to get to school when I was young, old fart, but I guess I am old, and sometimes I’m kind of a grouch, so that’s OK.

    When I applied to school, the schools hadn’t even begun to think about letting in masses of out of state students to get their out of state tuition money. They let in a few, most of which were from states that did not have a veterinary school, which our state had agreements with. Out of 72 to 76 slots, about 60 were reserved for in-state students, and there were somewhere over 300 applicants for those 60 slots, which meant that around 1 in 6 applicants were admitted. I’ll be the first to admit that when you are turning away 5 out of every 6 applicants, you turn away many many people that would have made great veterinarians. Face it, what we do is not rocket science, and, except for the veterinary neurosurgeons, it’s not brain surgery – it just is not that hard. But, when you are accepting better than 1 out of every 2 applicants, you are accepting people into the profession that have no business holding a scalpel.
    Forgive the ramblings of a grouchy old man, but all this is not going to bother me very much, I just feel so sorry for the young members of our profession and what the future has in store for them.

    • Ray,

      I agree with you 100%. Why can’t the AVMA have an opinion on how an oversupply of veterinarians will effect their dues paying members?

      Perhaps because they have a conflict of interest in being involved in the business of accrediting veterinary schools.

      Which is why I gave up my membership after 19 years.

      • Conflict of interest? What conflict of interest? There’s no conflict of interest. The AVMA said so in their Journal.

        In all seriousness, *this* is what’s wrong w/ AVMA: it can’t advocate for its members ’cause its hand is in the accreditation process. I’ve read enough about firewalls and the like from Drs. DeHaven, Matushek & Derksen. The reality is that a conflict of interest exists & this conflict prevents the association from advocating for the present membership.

        Insurance alternatives are available, and for those complaining that the alternatives are too costly I ask, How much is it worth to you to send the only the only message this association will understand?

        • Yes, as has happened with many organizations (the AMA included), they do not represent their membership……they represent the people that rely on a check from the organization.
          The JAVMA is basically a propaganda publication. The medical articles are mostly useless to the general practitioner and are obviously there to improve the CV of a person in academics who has to publish or perish.
          A small efficient rival organization with lower dues and better insurance would succeed wonderfully.
          If you know someone interested in starting one have him give me a call…I’ll sign up.