Looking at Veterinary Practice Ownership in 2022
Happy New Year! We want to wish you a happy and healthy 2022. As the new year gets underway, we have to look at some trends that will continue into the new year, some events that may be slowing down, and other news happening in the veterinary industry. Here are a few things to think about:
Veterinary Employee Shortage – This has been going on for several years now and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. There’s nothing that can happen overnight to help put an end to the shortage. Veterinary schools can’t graduate students fast enough and there are not any new veterinary schools that are starting up. Corporates are offering large bonuses for veterinary associates to join their practices. It’s tough for individual practice owners to compete for associates.
Burnout and Compassion Fatigue – This is one of the causes of labor shortage amongst veterinarians. Long work hours and days have been magnified with Covid. People are working from home and pay more attention to their animals. When they see their pet acting strangely, they immediately make an appointment with their veterinarian. Even before Covid, veterinarians typically face burnout after 5 to 10 years with some of them leaving the profession.
Veterinary Telemedicine – Telemedicine has become prominent in human medicine. Some health plans are even built around not going into the doctor’s office. There are companies offering telemedicine in the veterinary space. Will this become as prominent as it is in human medicine? Time will tell.
Corporate Buyer Consolidation – There are hundreds of groups buying veterinary practices paying exorbitant prices. Some of these groups have been purchased by larger groups. This buyer consolidation will continue for the next several years. What that may mean is less buyer competition for practices which may mean corporate buyers paying less for practices in the coming years.
Resurgence of Individual Practice Owners – This is a prediction more than based on fact. But, I believe individual veterinarians will get tired of working for corporate owners and will thus look to go out on their own either opening their own new practice or purchasing an existing practice. It will be a good and healthy thing for the veterinary industry as well as for the pet-owning public.
Inflation and its Impact on Veterinary Practices – I would say that inflation is coming, but we’re already seeing an increase in prices at the grocery store, gas stations, and other places. What this historically has meant for pet owners is that they think twice before they go in for what may be deemed by the general public as elective appointments such as canine checkups, consultations, and elective procedures. They will still have the non-elective procedures done when they are required.
These are just a few points to ponder going into the new year. We wish you a happy and healthy new year!