Surviving the worst economy since the Great Depression (Proceedings)


Congratulations! You are part of a very vibrant, healthy and fast growing industry.

Congratulations! You are part of a very vibrant, healthy and fast growing industry. Pet owners spend more on their pets than on jewelry, candy, or toys. It is BIG BUSINESS!

In the last decade, pet spending has doubled. The pet population has not doubled, but pet owners spend more on each pet. The point of economic euthanasia has tripled in the last decade. The veterinary industry is growing more than twice as fast as the overall economy. Interestingly – and unfortunately – only one out of four dollars spent on a pet goes through a veterinary clinic. Three of four dollars are spent elsewhere. Huge conglomerates (Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, etc.) have noted the growth in pet spending, and have entered the pet product and service arena.

The small animal veterinary profession has proven to be economically resilient – refusing to participate in recessions for the last 70 years. During the past six recessions, while the overall economy shrank 0.4% annually, small animal practices gained 4.8% annually.

Veterinarians enjoy an incredible public image. In a CNN/Gallup poll on honesty, ethics and integrity, veterinarians tied for second place.

In my anecdotal experience, successful veterinarians consistently demonstrate

  • Competence

  • Confidence

  • Good communication skills

  • Conviction

  • Advocacy for the pet's best interest

  • A plan to succeed

This session will also explore the nature of costs in veterinary medicine, and the implications of being in a fixed cost business.

In summary

  • The "humanization" of pets continues to be the overwhelming trend

  • Pet spending has proven to be economically resilient – even in the face of the current recession

  • Veterinarians have a very positive public image

  • Pet owners can't say "yes" to treatments not offered

  • Dogs and cats don't know we're in a recession

  • Veterinary medicine is a fixed cost's a volume game...the bills have been paid...we need to generate more transactions, because surviving exclusively upon annual increases in the Average Charge is not sustainable long-term

To learn more, read and review the following

  • KPMG Mega-Study

  • Quarterly financial results for VCA hospital operation

  • Quarterly and annual financial results for:

o Merial

o Pfizer

o Bayer

o Novartis


o Hill's Pet Nutrition

o VCA/Antech Diagnostics


o Webster

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