Vaccine usage slows in second quarter
Overall clinical volume rises more than 5% nationwide, but growth isn’t as strong among East Coast practices.
Welcome to The Vetalytix Report for the second quarter of 2019. In the tables that follow, we reaffirm a consistent theme that no two markets for veterinary medicine are identical and that the practices that serve those markets face unique challenges. For the independent practice to thrive in today’s hypercompetitive environment, it’s critical to understand the definition of what’s economically “normal” within your relevant geography.
As 2018 ended and rolled into the current year, many values from the Vetalytix dataset inferred possible slowing in several markets. What does the data suggest for the second quarter of 2019 in your area?
How to Read the Data
The Vetalytix Report highlights the change in volume in eight keystone areas of clinical practice. The values expressed represent the percentage increase or decrease in overall volume when compared with the same period of the prior year (second quarter of 2018).
Second-quarter data suggest that U.S. veterinary medicine continues to grow in 2019, but inconsistencies exist between geographic regions, affecting important segments of clinical practice. A few observations.
- Overall clinical volume: Second-quarter growth was positive in all regions, varying from 2.9% to 6.8% for the reporting period.
- Vaccine volume: With the exception of canine influenza, which varies significantly with outbreak incidence, the overall vaccine volume in the second quarter was subpar. Nationwide, both canine and feline core vaccines, as well as canine respiratory vaccines, saw a decline in utilization compared with the second quarter of 2018.
- Procedural volume and the surgical suite: Growth in inhalant utilization increased greatly in the second quarter, but the numbers should be looked at with a grain of caution. While volume was significantly higher compared with the second quarter of 2018, the absolute number was at a level consistent with 2017 values. The reported growth in this period is more suggestive of a rebound from 2018 as opposed to significant organic growth. We will follow this value closely in the coming months.
- The East Coast: If any region stands out, it is the Eastern Seaboard. For more than a year, the Middle Atlantic region has been challenged with multiple declining values across the Vetalytix dataset. Unfortunately, the second quarter of 2019 reflected more of the same.
What will the rest of 2019 hold for veterinary practices? Will a recession begin, or will growth continue unbounded? We will have to wait and see what the second half of the year holds in store for veterinary medicine.
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 oversees veterinary channel intelligence for Animalytix and is director of the Vetalytix Initiative.