Business , COVID-19 , News

April starts poorly for veterinary practices

iVET360 finds declines in revenue, transactions and new-client numbers.

April starts poorly for veterinary practices

Data collected by the practice management services firm iVET360 shows double-digit declines in business at many veterinary hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Portland, Oregon, company reported that on April 8, for example, revenue was down 16.2% across 735 U.S. hospitals compared with the same weekday, Wednesday, in early April 2019. Transactions fell by 19.8% and new clients by 15.1%. The only positive was the average transaction charge, which rose by 4.5%.

Through the first eight days of April, revenue was off 21.7% compared with the same period in April 2019, transactions plunged by 25.8% and new-client numbers dropped by 19.9%. The average transaction charge was up 5.6%.

Annual revenue at the 735 hospitals participating in the report averages $2 million. All 50 states were represented.

iVET360’s daily statistical reports began March 16, when a national stay-at-home advisory went into effect. That was “the starting point of a very long and challenging close to the month of March for the veterinary industry,” according to the company.

Compared with March 2019, the hardest-hit areas of veterinary practice were boarding, which suffered a 41% revenue collapse, and grooming, which was down 16%. Smaller revenue declines in March were seen in dentistry (8%), surgery (7%), professional services (4%) and laboratory (3%). Pet food sales jumped by 18% as clients stocked up.

“Federal-level guidance, state-level shelter-in-place protocols and determinations of essential services have decimated the number of visits to clinics,” iVET360 stated. “Basic wellness visits and elective surgeries are being pushed off to later dates.”

More data from iVet360 is available at https://bit.ly/2xho4cn.

Further proof of the falloff in veterinary business was issued by the telehealth service Ask.Vet. Company CEO Cal Lei wrote in a position paper posted at https://bit.ly/34qKggv that “Appointment cancellations for practices in our network are nearing 30%.”

“Future appointment bookings are down by as much as 40%, strong evidence that pet owners are making the difficult tradeoff of putting their pet’s health at risk to protect their own health,” the position paper added.


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