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Walmart expanding walk-in pet clinic and pet pharmacy offerings
The retail giant expects to have 100 clinics operational within the next 12 months, expanding access to affordable veterinary care while increasing its share of this growing market.
Today, Walmart has 21 in-store pet health care clinics operating in six states. The company announced on its blog this week that it will soon up that number to 100 and expand its in-store and online pharmacies with low-cost prescription medications for dogs, cats, horses and livestock. The company also plans to stock the top 30 most requested pet medications in its 4,500+ in-store pharmacies.
Essentials PetCare opened its first Walmart-based clinic in 2016 in Port Richey, Florida. (Twenty other clinics are operated in Walmart stores in six states by Idaho-based VetIQ Petcare.) Over the next two months, nine additional Essentials PetCare clinics will open for business in Walmart Supercenters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas.
Within a year the company plans to have a total of 100 clinics operational, although it did not specify where those clinics would be.
The mission of Essentials PetCare is to provide access to veterinary services to pet owners who otherwise would not seek care because of cost. “Having store locations within 10 miles of nearly 90% of the country's population makes Walmart an ideal venue for our veterinary clinics,” said Douglas Spiker, DVM, founder and president of Essentials PetCare, in a company press release. “Convenient access, as well as affordability, are often cited in industry research as key determinants in why millions of pet dogs and cats in the United States are not receiving even the most basic medical care.”
Calling itself the “new breed of pet care,” Essentials PetCare clinics provide routine wellness care, including vaccines, and treatment for a variety of minor conditions. Emergencies and other serious conditions, as well as surgeries, are referred to local full-service veterinary hospitals.
According to an article on RetailTouchpoints.com, Walmart enjoyed “a roughly 60% increase in the number of dog- and cat-related health care items sold on its web site over the past year.” With pet owners expected to shell out an estimated $75.38 billion in pet health care products and services this year, Walmart is well-positioned to become a major player in the pet health care market.