NCVEI, Brakke, Bayer to study declining numbers of veterinary visits

NCVEI, Brakke, Bayer to study declining numbers of veterinary visits

Sep 10, 2010
By staff
National Report — A new veterinary research collaboration is investigating reasons for a decline in companion-animal veterinary visits during the past decade.

The study, expected by the end of the year, will be led by the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues (NCVEI), Brakke Consulting and Bayer Animal Health.

While the population of dogs and cats in the United States has increased steadily, about 1 million fewer veterinary visits were recorded in 2006 versus 2001, according to data from the American Veterinary Medical Association. A more recent study demonstrated that the decline accelerated during the recent recession with more than half of veterinarians seeing stagnant to declining visits, Bayer reports.

The research will seek to understand the causes behind the reduction in veterinary visits, and to determine how veterinarians can increase them.

"Pets that are not routinely taken to the veterinarian are pets that are not receiving the medical attention they need to live healthy lives," says Peter Ryan, vice president of Bayer Animal Health's Companion Animal Business Unit.

"...this research project will help to expand the knowledge of the veterinary industry and assist in the creation of solutions for veterinarians," adds Karen E. Felsted, CPA, MS, DVM, CVPM, chief executive officer of NCVEI.

The research aims to measure pet-owner perception of the need for veterinary services, obstacles to scheduling office visits, and the role of alternative channels for pet-health products and information.

The project will target companion animal veterinarians and U.S. pet owners of all economic levels, the groups report.