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Coronavirus Pandemic Continues to Hurt Veterinary Business, While Some Bright Spots Persist

The latest VetWatch report shows large metropolitan areas are generally struggling, while some interior regions post year-over-year growth.

Andy ZunzExecutive Editor, NAVC

Coronavirus Pandemic Continues to Hurt Veterinary Business, While Some Bright Spots Persist
Courtesy of VetWatch

VetWatch, a tool that allows veterinary professionals to track business trends across the continental United States and gain valuable insight during the coronavirus pandemic, shows that veterinary practices and shelters are being impacted by the pandemic to varying degrees depending on their location. Large metropolitan areas are generally taking a hit in terms of revenue, patients, and purchasing trends, while more rural, interior regions are showing more resilience and in many cases posting year-over-year growth.

VetWatch reports data on practice revenues and patient volumes from almost 5,800+ practices across the nation, practice purchasing volumes for key therapeutic categories from 32,000+ practices and shelters, and survey responses from hundreds of veterinary professionals that will be updated periodically. To offer your perspective, take the survey today.

The results are divided into 236 geographic regions, so users can pinpoint trends in specific locations.

The project—which is a collaboration between Animalytix, Greenline Pet, Circa Healthcare, and the NAVC—is intended to help veterinary professionals take a broad look at national trends and navigate difficult times for businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest report, updated on May 20, reveals a few key findings:

Metro Areas Have Taken a Hit

Total revenue is generally down in major metropolitan areas—especially Boston, which has seen a 16.5% decline in year-to-date (up to May 16) revenue compared with the same time period last year—but some exceptions exist. Phoenix is one such example, with 6% growth in that same time period, and Seattle, Washington, with 4.8% growth.

veterinary business trends COVID-19

Year-to-date practice revenue and patient growth percentage as of May 16. Courtesy VetWatch

The Results Vary

VetWatch broke out a new category, specifically tracking the sale of flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives to give insight into a critical part of veterinary business. The Brooklyn, New York and Santa Maria, California zones are about 20% behind where they were during this period last year in canine parasiticide purchases. But interior zones in the Dakotas, Idaho, Arizona, and Texas are seeing increases greater than 20%. The report for this week shows that 54% of all zones are reporting net growth in parasiticide purchases year to date.

parasiticide purchase trends covid-19

Year-to-date parasiticide purchases growth percentage vs. prior year. Courtesy VetWatch

Some Bright Spots Exist

While core vaccinations are still down—as they have been during the pandemic—there is room for optimism. Purchases of canine core vaccines improved by 0.3% from the prior week’s results. Also, general supplies and the Veterinary Consumption Index, a proprietary leading indicator for clinical throughput, remain positive year to date.

veterinary practice purchasing trends

Weekly purchase growth vs. prior year of May 16. Courtesy VetWatch

Contact Is Limited

VetWatch also surveyed 277 professionals, and 6% of the respondents said they are allowing normal client access into their physical plant while more than 80% report moving exclusively to a curbside service or drop off patient experience.

To see tailored statistics in your region, visit the VetWatch website and use the interactive tool to customize the data.

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