Bayer Study Finds Six Causes For Yearly Decline In Companion Animal Veterinary Visits
This research attributes the decline in companion animal veterinary visits noted over the past several years to six primary causes including the recession, fragmentation of veterinary services, the use of Internet for information, feline resistance, the perception among companion animal owners that regular check-ups are unnecessary, and the cost of care.
Based on interviews and focus groups conducted with companion animal owners, and veterinarians, this research found six primary reasons for the decline in visits by companion animal owners to the veterinarians over the past several years. For example, there is a major misconception among companion animal owners that regular check-ups for companion animals are unnecessary, as many associate clinic visits with shots or clear health problems. In addition, information that is readily available via the Internet also serves to deter office visits; 15% of companion animal owners said that with the Internet they don’t rely on the vet as much, and 39% said they look online before consulting a vet if a companion animal is sick or injured.
Moreover, industry-wide fee increases over the last decade and higher veterinary costs contribute to the decline in veterinary visits; 53% of companion animal owners said that veterinary costs are much higher than they expected and, as household incomes have declined, so have vet visits.
The fragmentation of veterinary services has also played a role in the decline in the number of office visits, as treatment at mobile vaccination clinics, animal shelters and companion animal store clinics may offset regular visits with a veterinarian. And finally, specific to cats, one-third of the cats owned by respondents had not seen a vet in the past year due to “feline resistance,” a term that defines the anxiety and associated behaviors that cats exhibit during transport to unfamiliar places.