A recently-released report shows that while more households have pets than ever before, the shortage of small animal veterinarians is growing.
Did you know that more than half the global population has pets? The US alone is home to around 150 million pet dogs and cats, according to the Global State of Pet Care report, published by Health for Animals, a non-profit animal health association. Yet there is a growing shortage of small animal veterinarians in an already overstretched workforce.
Here are some highlights from the report:
• The life expectancy of pets is increasing by up to 230%. Between 2002 and 2016, the average life expectancy of US-owned dogs went from 10.5 years to 11.8 years
— an increase of 11.4%. One estimate found that the life expectancy of dogs has doubled in the last 40 years.
• Over 100,000 veterinarians are practicing in the US. Given the actual number of pets in the country, this works out to 0.79 veterinarians per 1,000 pets. In addition, the US is facing an estimated shortfall of 15,000 veterinarians by 2030.
• Rates of burnout among veterinary professionals increased substantially from 2020 and 2021, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent pet adoption boom.
• Innovation is needed to deal with the problem, and how veterinarians deliver care for their patients is rapidly changing.
— Artificial intelligence and machine learning are powering tools that help veterinarians deliver increasingly rapid and accurate diagnoses, and allow for earlier treatment, offering a greater chance of success and lower impact on animal welfare.
— “Big data” tools can leverage the accumulated diagnostic profiles of countless animals to pinpoint new risk factors for illnesses like cancer, and facilitate better preventative action.
— As pet populations age, they’re facing new challenges, but new technologies and treatments can help veterinarians and pet owners adapt. For example, cutting-edge gene therapy treatments could allow vets to address cancers that are common in older pets.
To read the entire report, visit: