NEWS & TRENDS
What’s the greatest unknown for the pet industry in 2023?
Millennials and Generation Z could push the $115 billion pet industry to $300 billion by 2030, making this cohort of pet owners crucial for industry members to watch.
> Read the full column here.
But two issues could dampen their enthusiasm to keep spending on pets: shortages of veterinary professionals and shortages of dogs.
To ensure pet owners have ready access to care and the cost of having a pet doesn’t rise beyond consumers’ reach, the industry needs to increase the number of veterinary professionals and make dog breeding a viable, socially acceptable practice, veterinary industry policy expert Mark Cushing wrote last week in the Fountain Report.
“The good news is we control contingencies and solutions” for the veterinary care shortage and the dog shortage, Mark writes. “The ‘challenge’ is whether the profession and industry are prepared to take these concerns of the generations holding the keys seriously. That’s the question of the year for 2023.”
Commentary from VSI managing editor Bre Demaline: As a 2023 graduate who will soon be entering the industry as a practicing veterinarian, I think Mark Cushing certainly brings up some topics that must be considered and assigned a watchful eye not only in the upcoming year, but in the years to come.
While a shortage of veterinarians and veterinary nurses is not a newly identified crisis, Mark brings valid concern about the effects this long-lasting shortage might have on pet owners as they continue to encounter three-week-long waitlists for appointments, practices that are closed to new clientele, and extremely long wait times at veterinary emergency hospitals. Will adoption or rescue rates be affected? Will the number of routine veterinary visits drastically decrease?
While efforts are being made in many different sectors to tackle the veterinarian and veterinary nurse shortage, I must agree with Mark that it would be wise to keep these trends in our sight. As an aspiring future veterinary practice owner, I will certainly be doing so.
What can practices do to support employee wellbeing?
Within reasonable boundaries, managers who offer compensation, benefits and a work environment that help employees live a better life outside work will often find team members’ performance improves, veterinarian and industry consultant Karen Felsted wrote in last week’s Fountain Report.
> Read the full column here.
Karen offers several steps veterinary practices can take to help improve employee wellbeing. These include things like ensuring staff don’t have to attend to work in their off-hours, offering mental health treatment coverage, bringing in financial advisers and life coaches, and supporting community initiatives.
“Improved mental health is critical to the future of our profession and to everyone in it—clients, practice owners, employees and those who work in related businesses,” Karen writes. “Knowing how to get started creating a healthier work environment can be hard, especially when a practice is swamped with work. But even baby steps will make a difference.”
Veterinary practices prepare as amoxicillin shortage hits North America
Veterinarians are gearing up amid supply interruptions of liquid amoxicillin, an antibiotic commonly used to treat infections in humans and animals. Much of North America faces a shortage of amoxicillin in addition to other prescription drugs, and the antibiotic has reportedly recently become difficult to find in U.S. and Canadian retail pharmacies, the VIN News Service reports.
While tablets are still readily available, the antibiotic’s powder form, dissolved in water to create a suspension administered orally, often is better suited to children and animals such as cats, dogs and birds. The FDA said multiple generic drug manufacturers reported limited supplies of the oral powder.
> Read the full article here.
Commentary from Terry Sheehan: Almost every day there is a news report regarding amoxicillin supply issues for pediatric use. These types of supply chain disruptions seem to be ongoing, exposing a serious potential problem with active ingredient availability.
Groups support inaugural Practice Manager Appreciation Week
The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association announced its support of the launch of an annual Practice Manager Appreciation Week the third week of November. Thrive Pet Healthcare initiated the event, which is meant to recognize the role practice managers and hospital administrators play in supporting the veterinary profession while ensuring exceptional pet care.
This year’s Practice Manager Appreciation Week ran from November 13-19.
“Practice managers are often unsung heroes because they serve in an unseen supportive role,” said VHMA Executive Director Christine Shupe. “Nonetheless, they are critical to the practice because they have high levels of responsibility managing all aspects of human resources, practice finances, communication and marketing to clients, and practice operations—which allows the medical professionals to focus on the medicine.”
> Read VHMA’s full announcement here.
How to incorporate mindfulness into your day
In honor of Practice Manager Appreciation Week, the American Animal Hospital Association gave tips for practice managers, veterinary teams and others to manage stress, courtesy of Patty Casebolt, chief operating officer at Medical Eye Center and a certified mindfulness/meditation facilitator.
Casebolt’s tips include: Set an intention (as opposed to a goal) for the day; eat breakfast mindfully; and take a different route to work, among other things.
> Read the full list of mindfulness tips from AAHA.
The Vet Watch Weekly Insight Report
Year-to-date revenue the week ending November 12 was up 4.8% over the same period last year at veterinary practices across the country, according to the latest Vet Watch™ Weekly Insight Report from Animalytix. Total year-to-date invoices were down 2.6%, unique clients were down 1.8% and unique patients were down 1.7%.
Month-to-date, revenue was down 2.4%. Total invoices were down 10%, unique clients were down 10.2%, and unique patients were down 10.6%.
> Read the full VetWatch update here.