The Triennial Report

The Triennial Report

DVM Newsmagazine survey examines competition, ownership hopes for associate veterinarians
Apr 01, 2009

National Report — Traditional veterinary hospitals remain the source of the most competitive business pressure, according to a 2009 DVM Newsmagazine survey.

Table 1: Competition: Measuring the threat
Coming in a close second: Internet sales Web sites, which ranked as the top threat in 2006. The results were gathered as the U.S. recession widened in late 2008 through January 2009. About 42 percent of the respondents viewed their geographic location as "highly competitive." Nearly half called it "somewhat competitive."

Table 2: Competitive edge
This survey sought to gauge the attitudes of veterinarians on a variety of timely issues, including competition, the state of the economy and practice trends.

Table 3: Competitive risk
When asked how they rated their facility and medical equipment in comparison to other practices in the area, 38 percent said they were about the same, 55 percent said they were better and 8 percent said they were worse. As might be expected, larger practices rated their facilities higher than smaller practices. For example, nearly 70 percent of practices grossing $1.5 million to $1.7 million say their facilities are superior to competing practices. Just over 40 percent of respondents in facilities grossing $250,000 to $499,000 said the same.

Table 4: Top areas of specialist referrals
Most veterinarians did not report expansion within their communities, either. In fact, 62 percent say that no new practices have opened within five miles of their clinic in the last three years.

Table 5: Quest for ownership
The sentiment extended to hiring, too. In fact, 64 percent of the veterinarians report they do not plan to hire a new associate DVM in the next two years. Supply, however, is not a problem for 70 percent of the respondents.

Table 6: Hiring outlook
Thirty percent of the survey respondents said they cannot find a qualified associate in their area.

The average number of positions filled in 2008 was 2.9 per clinic, while the average number created was one.

Table 7: Vet power
When associates were asked about their interest in ownership of a veterinary hospital or clinic, the numbers dropped again.