South Atlantic states show 5 percent gain in clinical volume
The third quarter was a mixed bag overall, with flea and tick doses tending to lag.
Welcome to The Vetalytix Report for the third quarter of 2018. In previous issues, we reported that the first two quarters proved to be challenging for many veterinarians nationwide as revealed by decreases in product consumption across numerous categories. After a slow start to the year marred by snow and cold in many regions, preventive care volumes appeared to recover in many areas of the country in the second quarter, although several regions continued weaker-than-expected results.
With the end of September marking the close of the third quarter, the report that follows reveals the major trends observed during the late summer months of July, August and September. Did practices fare better in the third quarter of 2018?
Let’s take a look using product consumption data made available through a partnership with Animalytix and its data platform, www.vetalytix.com.
For the second quarter in a row, veterinary business metrics for the South Atlantic states (the Carolinas, Florida, Georgia and Virginia) were above average for many key indicators compared to the broader market.
Clinical volume was up 5 percent compared to the third quarter of 2017, on par with the national average of 4.8 percent. This continued positive growth represents a 1 percent increase in overall volume compared to the 4 percent observed in the second quarter.
Wellness care through the veterinary channel appeared to be slightly negatively impacted compared to the prior year. Despite being on par with national averages, canine core vaccine volume was essentially flat (negative 0.1 percent) in the third quarter, while the observed decrease in feline core vaccine volume was more evident, down 1.5 percent compared to 2017. Canine influenza volume, a value that varies significantly depending on the prevalence of clinical outbreaks, was down significantly compared to the prior year.
Procedural volume was flat in the third quarter, consistent with prior year values and better than in many other regions of the country.
With flea and tick preventives, the data again suggests a decrease in the volume in the third quarter, although no more significant than the effects seen more broadly.
East North Central
Veterinary business metrics for East North Central states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) were consistent with many broader national trends, suggesting continued stability in this regional market.
Overall clinical volume was up 4.1 percent compared to the third quarter of 2017, slightly behind the national average of 4.8 percent but ahead of the growth observed in second quarter.
Canine and feline core vaccine volumes, which were essentially flat compared to the prior year, were down from the growth observed in the second quarter but in line with conditions observed nationally. Canine influenza dose utilization rose significantly compared to the prior year, consistent with vaccinations in the face of a clinical outbreak as well the broader adoption of this antigen as a critical component of vaccination protocols.
Procedural volume was essentially flat during this reporting period, while flea and tick dose volume appeared to soften significantly during the third quarter.
West South Central
Third-quarter veterinary business metrics in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas were mixed compared to broader national trends.
Overall clinical volume was up 3.5 percent compared to the third quarter of 2017, slightly behind the 4.8 percent growth rate observed on a national scale.
Canine and feline core vaccine volumes were mixed, with canine core doses essentially flat and feline doses showing positive growth at almost 3 percent for the reporting period.
Canine influenza volume was down compared to the prior year, a secondary effect consistently observed following the rapid expansion seen during outbreaks.
Procedural volume was significantly higher than other areas of the country compared to the third quarter of 2017, a rare positive data point for this critical component of clinical practice.
Flea and tick doses were consistent with the softening observed in the broader market.
In the third quarter of 2018, the New England states (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) observed mixed business metrics compared to other parts of the country.
Overall clinical volume was up almost 5 percent compared to the third quarter of 2017, exactly on pace with the national average and a jump from the 2 percent growth observed in the second quarter.
Canine and feline core vaccine volumes were split in the third quarter, with canine volumes down almost 7 percent and feline slightly positive at 1 percent.
Canine influenza utilization appears to be exploding again, up significantly from the third quarter of 2017 and far outpacing adoption rates on a national scale.
Procedural volume was off significantly compared to the national average but moderately improved compared to the second quarter.
Flea and tick dose volume was still off from the third quarter of 2017 but was no more impacted than the effects observed nationally.
As now reported in three consecutive quarters, data reveals that the markets (and market dynamics) for veterinary medicine are very different depending on which part of the country you’re in. As a result, veterinary practices and the challenges they face are just as diverse.
Data from the third quarter of 2018 suggests a possible slowing of clinical volumes through the veterinary channel as the year winds down. Some categories, such as overall clinical volume, appear to show improvements across multiple regions compared to the same period in 2017. But other categories, such as flea and tick dose volumes and procedural volumes, continue to show challenges for the third quarter in a row, suggesting broader issues may be impacting the veterinary practice as a channel.
As highlighted in prior reports, some areas of the United States have significantly more challenges to face while others have positive dynamics to build off of for the remainder of 2018.
Understanding these dynamics and how they impact your practice can provide insight into better meeting the needs of your patients and clients.
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 private practitioner compete in today’s challenging economy. Vetalytix is an open community available as a resource to the veterinary profession and is sponsored by the NAVC, Today’s Veterinary Business and leading animal health distributors. For more detailed information related to your local market, go to www.vetalytix.com.
Dr. Travis Meredith oversees veterinary channel intelligence for Animalytix and is director of the Vetalytix Initiative.