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Winter had a chilling effect on mid-Atlantic veterinary business

The Mountain and Pacific regions fared better in early 2018.

Winter had a chilling effect on mid-Atlantic veterinary business

The first quarter of 2018 proved to be challenging for many veterinarians around the country. With record cold and snow event after snow event, pet owners had little reason to leave their homes in the first few months of 2018. But how significant were these challenges to veterinary practices in the first quarter? Let’s take a look using product consumption data made available through Salisbury, Maryland-based Animalytix and its new platform, Vetalytix.com

Middle Atlantic

Overall veterinary business metrics for the mid-Atlantic states — New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey — were below average for the first quarter of 2018 as many states were hit especially hard with prolonged winter weather.

Clinical volume was down 1.7 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017 and compared to the national average of plus 1.3 percent. Canine and feline core vaccine volumes were both negative compared to the prior year and below the national averages as well. Even canine influenza volumes, up significantly from the first quarter of 2017, still trailed significantly behind the national averages.

Procedural volume was off from 2017, although less impacted than the effects observed nationally.

Less surprising, the data suggest that the extended winter months stalled preventive medicine, with flea and tick dose volumes down 11.4 percent from the prior year.

Great Lakes

Veterinary business metrics for the East North Central states (Great Lakes) were consistent with broader national trends, suggesting less disruption to the local markets.

Overall clinical volume was flat compared to the first quarter of 2017, compared to the national average of plus 1.3 percent. Canine and feline core vaccine volumes were both mildly negative compared to the prior year. Canine influenza dose utilization was markedly increased vs. the prior year, consistent to the broader adoption of this antigen as a critical component of vaccination protocols.

Procedural volume and flea and tick dose volume were both off from 2017 but were no less impacted than the effects observed nationally.

Mountain

Overall veterinary business metrics for the Mountain states were positive compared to broader national trends.

Overall clinical volume was up almost 4 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017, one of only a few regions with higher-than-average clinical dynamics compared to the national average. Canine and feline core vaccine volumes were mixed, with canine core doses slightly below 2017 values but feline doses showing positive growth at almost 3 percent. Canine influenza volume showed tremendous growth, far outpacing the national averages by two times.

Procedural volume, although negative, was less impacted than other areas of the country compared to 2017.

The only area in which significant underperformance was observed was in the area of flea and tick dose volume, where volumes were down 13.6 percent compared to the prior year.

Pacific

In the first quarter of 2018, the Pacific states observed significantly better business metrics compared to other parts of the country.

Overall clinical volume was up almost 5 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017, outpacing the national average. Canine and feline core vaccine volumes, while flat compared to the prior year, were both relatively stronger than the significant decreases in dose volumes observed in other geographies. Canine influenza utilization appears to be exploding, up significantly from the first quarter of 2017 and far outpacing adoption rates on a national scale.

Procedural volume, although negative, was less impacted than other areas of the country compared to 2017.

Flea and tick dose volume was off from the first quarter of 2017 but not significantly less impacted than the effects observed nationally.

Summary

The markets and market dynamics for veterinary medicine are very different depending on what part of the country you’re in. As a result, veterinary practices and the challenges they face are just as diverse.

Data from the first quarter of 2018 suggest a tepid start to the new year in many areas of clinical practice. But there’s no doubt that some areas have significantly more challenges to face while others have positive dynamics to build off of for the remainder of 2018.  Understanding these dynamics, and the role they play in your market, can provide insight into better meeting the needs of your patients and clients.

Background

The Vetalytix platform utilizes product consumption data — what veterinarians consume in the process of providing care to patients — as a marker for clinical caseload volume. Through the analysis of specific product classes, Vetalytix reports major trends and market behaviors in more than 200 unique geographic areas for the benefit of independent practice owners and their management teams. 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.

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