2024 Veterinary Stats

A veterinary favorite is back and updated for 2024 – check out these statistics for the industry this year!

See how Flow by Otto helps veterinary teams overcome today’s biggest challenges

Veterinary industry economic statistics

Like other industries, veterinary medicine has felt the impact of inflation this year. While practice revenue increased on average by 5.7% from August 2021 to August 2023, client visits dropped by 2.7%. Let’s dive into other stats you need to know about the economic climate:

About 126,138 practicing veterinarians in the US. 75,349 work in private practice.

Corporate consolidation is a trend we’ve all been watching closely over the past several years. While corporate groups employ approximately 40% of practicing veterinarians, estimates suggest fewer than 40% of all veterinary clinics are corporate-owned. Clinics that belong to consolidation groups tend to be larger than the average private practice, which is why corporate clinics employ a disproportionate percentage of the market. In 2023, there was a slowdown in practice consolidation by 68%, according to Idexx data. This slowdown was fueled by macroeconomic trends and the failure of several large consolidators to recapitalize.

The pet supplement industry is on track to hit $1.4 billion by 2028.

According to the American Pet Products Association, the pet industry continues to grow despite the economic environment. In 2023, pet spending in the US is projected to reach $143.6 billion. Food and treats made up the highest spending category, at $62.7 billion, followed by spending on veterinary care and products, at $37 billion.

According to a workforce update from the AVMA, veterinary salaries are struggling to keep up with inflation.

Education and employment statistics

In 2023 the veterinary industry boasted an unemployment rate of 0.5%, compared to a national unemployment rate of 3.8%.

Veterinarians hold an average of $154,451 in student loan debt. Under 17% of graduating veterinarians reported having no debt at all.

Student loan debt is an ongoing challenge for veterinarians. On average, it costs over $200,000 to attend and graduate from veterinary school. The bright spot in 2022 is that with increasing demand, salaries and signing bonuses are also increasing and helping offset the weight of these historically crippling student loans.

The median veterinary salary is $165,527.

Referral bonuses have become commonplace as demand for veterinary care rises. Average referral bonuses range from:

Signing bonuses also remain a key part of normal compensation now, ranging from $10,000-$100,000 depending on market and role.

Top 10 best-paying states for Veterinarians

  • California, $124,436
  • Massachusetts, $123,433
  • New York, $122,816
  • Washington, $121,756
  • New Jersey, $120,207
  • Connecticut: $119,330
  • Colorado, $119,299
  • Maryland, $119,211
  • Virginia, $117,452
  • Illinois, $117,362

Job demand and burnout

Some things haven’t changed much year after year. Demand and burnout continue to be an important topic in veterinary medicine:
Nearly 55,000 additional veterinarians will be needed to meet the needs of companion animal healthcare by 2030. Even counting new grads over the next 10 years, a shortage of 24,000 veterinarians will likely occur in 2030.

Burnout is not a problem of yesterday or today. It’s a problem of the past, present, and future. Large organizations are beginning advocacy efforts to head off the chronic shortage of veterinarians. Practices are investing in technology and workflow improvements today — not only to innovate but to survive the crush of demand that isn’t going anywhere.

The job outlook for veterinarians from 2020 to 2030 is expected to grow 20% (much faster than average).

Last year, we reported that veterinary jobs were expected to grow at a 17% rate, but with booming pet ownership, that growth rate has increased to 20%. This growth rate is much higher than other occupations.

Veterinarian work hours are declining. In 2023, veterinarians worked an average of 43.5 hours per week compared to 43.9 hours per week in 2020 during the pandemic. 27% of veterinarians report that they’d work fewer hours for less compensation if they could improve their mental health (32.4%) and achieve better work-life balance (31.9%).

Nearly 62% of the veterinary profession is now female.

New research shows that about 80% of veterinarians suffer from clinical depression at some point, and 50% report feeling unhappy in their careers. Active mentorship is on the rise in veterinary medicine to provide support. Suicide prevention programs and services are also a major focus in this industry.

Pet owner demographics and preferences

Millennials continue to be the largest pet-owning generation. Get more essential stats on the state of pet ownership:

66% of US households own a pet.

In the US, there are 65.1 million households that own a dog and 46.5 million households that own a cat.

Millennials are the generation most likely to own a pet and account for 33% of all pet owners, followed by Gen X (25%) and baby boomers (24%).

Dog owners spend, on average, $730 per year on their dogs.

42% of pet owners report that they can’t cover a surprise veterinary bill of $999 or less. Programs such as Otto Care have emerged to offer flexible financing solutions for pet owners.

See how Care by Otto makes it easy for pet parents to say yes to care.

Gen X pet owners are the most likely to have pets that aren’t cats and dogs–such as fish and exotic pets.

Gen Zers and Millennials are obsessed with their “fur babies” and leverage technology at a high level for pet research and referrals. Nearly 2 in 5 Gen Zers say their veterinary practice is outdated. Many clinics prioritize modernization to provide the experience younger pet parents are looking for with self-service tools, a customized approach to care and communication for their pet, and communication that includes texting.

Looking forward

As the market continues to evolve to meet the challenges of the moment our industry is experiencing, the team at Otto extends a heartfelt thank you to veterinary professionals for their passion and commitment. Together, we’ll work to innovate and continue to provide care for veterinary teams and the pets they treat.

See how Flow by Otto helps veterinary teams overcome today’s biggest challenges