Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
Report Forecasts a Critical Shortage of Veterinarians
Satisfying the health care needs of all U.S. cats and dogs by 2030 would require nearly 41,000 more veterinarians, a number that DVM programs cannot produce unless they expand their enrollments substantially and soon, according to newly released studies.
The Mars Veterinary Health report, “Tackling the Veterinary Shortage,” highlighted three studies conducted by Jim Lloyd, DVM, Ph.D., a senior consultant at Animal Health Economics and the former dean of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Lloyd projected that 18,050 companion animal veterinarians are needed to replace the practitioners expected to retire by 2030. On top of that, an additional 22,909 would be needed to accommodate growth in the pet market. However, only 26,000 DVM graduates “could reasonably be expected to have joined the national pet health care workforce by 2030,” he wrote, leaving a deficit of nearly 15,000.
“If this scenario comes to bear, it is possible that a total of over 75 million pets in the U.S. will not experience veterinary care in 2030 — over 20 million … due to a potential shortage of veterinarians and about 55 million … as a function of a historically underserved market,” Dr. Lloyd wrote.
Expecting veterinary colleges to turn out thousands of extra veterinarians is impractical, the study concluded.
“Unfortunately, to send an additional 15,000 new graduates into companion animal practice over the next 10 years, AAVMC member institutions would need to increase their annual contribution to the pet health care workforce by over 50%,” Dr. Lloyd wrote. “Realistically, an enrollment increase of this magnitude would almost certainly not be feasible, even if was widely supported as a good idea.”
One idea that makes sense, he noted, is a “more complete development of the roles and contributions of veterinary nurses/technicians and a more thorough professional engagement of the entire health care team.”
The complete studies, other proposed solutions and details of what Mars Veterinary Health is doing to tackle the veterinarian shortage are available at bit.ly/3HM3teg.
Petco Buys Out In-Store Clinic Partner
Petco, whose stores host nearly 100 Thrive veterinary hospitals in 14 states, has agreed to purchase Thrive Pet Healthcare’s 50% stake in the five-year-old venture. The terms were not released, and the transaction is expected to close by May.
“Petco will transition the nearly 100 Thrive locations to its Vetco Total Care hospital branding, offering a consolidated brand experience to customers of their full-service veterinary hospitals across the Petco pet care center network,” the company reported.
More than 800 Thrive team members will be Petco employees if they choose to stay.
The Thrive Pet Healthcare network includes more than 450 veterinary hospitals nationwide.
CAPC Warns of Rising Disease Risk
The Companion Animal Parasite Council predicts that pets in certain areas of the United States are an increased risk this year of contracting heartworm disease, Lyme, ehrlichiosis or anaplasmosis.
The nonprofit organization urged more annual disease testing of cats and dogs, the use of year-round heartworm preventives and the use of products that killor repel mosquitos and ticks.
“Over the years, we’ve seen the risk for parasitic diseases increase and expand into areas that have had historically lower prevalence,” said Christopher Carpenter, DVM, the CAPC’s CEO.
Details of the 2022 Pet Parasite Forecast and continuously updated parasite prevalence maps are at capcvet.org.