So far, so good in 2019
Overall clinical volume was positive in all regions during the third quarter.
Welcome to The Vetalytix Report for the third quarter of 2019. In the tables that follow, we reaffirm the theme that no two markets for veterinary medicine are identical and that the practices serving those markets face unique challenges. For the independent practice to thrive in today’s hypercompetitive environment, it’s critical to understand the definition of “normal” within your geographic backyard.
We’ve added a new metric, year-to-date change, to the latest data. As prior Vetalytix Reports have focused on comparing values against the same quarter of the prior year, we thought it important to add a value to shed light on broader changes across the calendar year.
How to Read the Data
The third-quarter report highlights the changes in volume for seven keystone areas of clinical practice. The values expressed represent the percentage increase or decrease in overall volume when compared with the same periods of the prior year (July to September 2018 and year-to-date January to September 2018).
The data above suggest that veterinary medicine continued to exhibit solid growth through the first nine months of 2019. Although some inconsistencies exist between geographic regions, much of the overall information suggests a positive year for companion animal veterinarians. A few observations.
- Overall clinical volume: Third-quarter growth was positive in all regions, varying from a low of 4% to a high of 10%. For the year, overall growth is positive everywhere, with the average region experiencing growth approaching 5% compared to 2018.
- Vaccine volume: The third quarter revealed a potential shift in canine and feline vaccine volumes. While the second quarter revealed tepid, and in some cases negative, results for canine and feline vaccine utilization when compared to 2018, the third quarter showed much stronger results for both in almost every region. Many factors, such as economic dynamics and weather, can influence caseload demand. Utilization of both canine and feline core vaccines is positive year to date, suggesting a favorable overall trend in wellness-driven clinical volumes and reversing what was observed in some regions.
- Procedural volume and the surgical suite: For the second consecutive period, anesthetic volume showed solid growth, suggesting a possible strengthening in procedural volumes across the profession. What has been a traditionally declining metric for the past year, the positive growth reported in both the third quarter (4%) and year to date (9%) is generally widespread and hopefully will continue in the remainder of 2019 and beyond.
- Flea and tick volume: It’s no secret that flea and tick preventive dispensing is one of the most hypercompetitive elements of clinical practice. Nationwide, overall dose volumes through the Vetalytix data set suggests a 6% decline compared to 2018, with some regions falling by up to 8% year to date.
To sum up the latest findings in one sentence, “So far, so good in 2019.” What will the rest of 2019 hold for veterinary practices? Will growth continue unbounded? We will have to wait and see.
Vetalytix is the industry’s largest repository of localized economic insight, regulatory compliance and pharmacy support tools, all of which are designed to help the standalone veterinary practice compete in today’s economy. Vetalytix is sponsored by the NAVC, Today’s Veterinary Business and numerous stakeholders in animal health distribution and manufacturing. Vetalytix pairs aggregated companion animal sales information with an active practice owner to uncover insights to change the way they operate. The more access owners have to the market around them, the better they can meet the needs of their clients and patients. For detailed information about your local market, visit www.vetalytix.com.
Dr. Travis Meredith is a senior business adviser for Animalytix and director of the Vetalytix Initiative.