Survey: The human-animal bond remains strong

Seminar attendees hear where the profession has been and where it's headed.

Survey: The human-animal bond remains strong
Dr. Michael Dicks speaks at the Industry Insight & State of the Profession Seminar.

To naysayers who question the power of the human-animal bond, market analyst David Sprinkle says look at the facts.

A new survey conducted by Sprinkle’s employer, Packaged Facts, found that pet owners overwhelmingly report that their cats, and more so their dogs, positively affect their physical and mental health.

His numbers show that 87 percent of cat owners somewhat or strongly agreed that their pet positively influenced their physical health. With mental health, the number was 3 points higher.

Among dog owners, 93 and 94 percent, respectively, felt the same way — evidence of the degree to which pets are beloved, he said.

Sprinkle was the first of three presenters Feb. 5 at the Industry Insight & State of the Profession Seminar. Also speaking at the VMX event in Orlando, Florida, were Michael Dicks, Ph.D., director of economics at the American Veterinary Medical Association, and Chris Ragland, CEO of the veterinary market research firm Animalytix.

Among other highlights:

  • Nearly two-thirds of pet owners surveyed somewhat or strongly agreed that they would purchase more pet medications from their veterinarian if prices were more competitive, 32 percent if the clinic was more conveniently located, and 32 percent if the practice had more convenient business hours.
  • Dicks forecast that one-third of the more than 30,000 U.S. veterinary hospitals will be put up for sale over the next 10 years. A chief reason is the aging ownership base: 60 years old at equine practices, 61 at small animal hospitals and 62 at mixed-animal practices.
  • Ragland noted a worrying and unexplained trend: a declining number of surgeries performed over the past five years, as measured by the consumption of inhalant anesthetics.

“You can’t get a surgery online,” he said. “If something is going on that is driving surgeries down, hopefully it’s not us. This is something we need to understand because long term it has the potential to be very devastating.”

To view the presentation slides from the Industry Insight & State of the Profession Seminar, visit Protection Status