The fourth and final report in our series addressing veterinary market dynamics and trends for 2016, the 2016 AVMA Report on Veterinary Services, is now available for free download by all AVMA members. Part of the AVMA’s 2016 Economic Reports series, this edition offers information and narratives to build understanding of trends, challenges and opportunities associated with product and service delivery in veterinary medicine.
The report early on discusses capacity relative to demand, examining a key performance indicator applicable to service delivery developments and reviewing a workforce model that explores regional and practice type variations. Another important section explores the seasonality of business activity among veterinary enterprises, identifying sales cycles and offering sound business tips for taking advantage of opportunities they present. Additionally, the 2016 AVMA Report on Veterinary Services offers a glimpse into the potential for opportunities associated with pet health insurance, presenting findings of a study undertaken to understand preferences of possible policy buyers. The report also includes a breakdown of practices by state; findings from a study of the habits of dog owners in purchasing veterinary services in one U.S. metropolitan area; and perspectives on excess capacity in the veterinary industry, including considerations relative to the prices of services offered.
Key findings reported in the 2016 AVMA Report on Veterinary Services include:
- The percentage of practices that indicated they were working at full capacity increased substantially between 2012 and 2015. From 2014 to 2015, food animal practices in particular saw a large increase in this area.
- Updated animal population forecasts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture project an overall decline in animal populations compared to the year-earlier forecast. In 2025 this would have a cumulative effect of decreasing the demand for veterinarians by about 300 full-time equivalents, compared with the year-earlier forecast.
- The 2015 avian influenza outbreak, the total cost of which is estimated at a minimum of $1 billion, led to a massive increase in the demand for veterinary services.
- An examination of the effects of seasonality on veterinary practices shows that 27.9 percent of revenue in veterinary practices comes from the first quarter, 28.6 percent from the second, 24.9 percent from the third, and only 18.5 percent from the fourth.
- In a survey about consumer preferences for pet health insurance, respondents who indicated that an unexpected $1,000 veterinary bill would present financial difficulty were more likely to purchase pet health insurance.
- A pilot study of dog owners in one U.S. metropolitan area showed that some health issues such as flea/tick problems, diarrhea/vomiting, and even injuries were addressed at home, while others – including intestinal worms, ear/eye/dental problems, and skin/fur maladies – were more likely to be addressed during a routine check-up than with a separate visit to a veterinary clinic or hospital.
We encourage all AVMA members to download and read their free copy of this report, as well as the other reports in the 2016 series: the 2016 AVMA Report on Veterinary Markets; the 2016 AVMA Report on the Market for Veterinary Education; and the 2016 AVMA Report on the Market for Veterinarians. The full series of 2016 reports is available for purchase by nonmembers.