SHAWNEE, Kan. July 18, 2011
Yet in spite of these issues, there are steps veterinarians can take to reverse the trend and improve pet health, according to a new study regarding the demand for veterinary services announced today at the annual convention of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Called the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study, the research was conducted by Bayer HealthCare LLC, Animal Health Division in cooperation with Brakke Consulting and the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues (NCVEI). Results announced today were from the second major phase of the research, a national study among veterinarians. Results from an earlier stage national study of pet owners were announced in January.
Keeping Pets Healthy
The study confirms that there is a gap in knowledge between pet owners and veterinarians when it comes to providing for the long-term health of companion pets. Nearly all (95 percent) veterinarians surveyed believe that dogs and cats require at least one well-visit, or physical examination, annually and that 72 percent of veterinarians believe wellness exams are the most important services they can provide. However, the study also found that 65 percent of veterinarians believe their clientele doesn’t value annual wellness examinations, which reinforces findings from the study’s first phase.
Vet 2.0 – Providing New Services
The study found that 83 percent of veterinarians believe that running a veterinary practice is as much a people business as it is a medical service.
For that reason, a number of veterinarians are implementing marketing programs, including an online presence and use of social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, as key components of their practice’s business strategy.
Within that strategy, veterinarians have embraced the opportunity to meet the changing needs of pet owners. The study identified a number of services desired by pet owners that veterinarians indicate they currently are or are willing to offer to enhance the pet owners’ experiences. These include the development of an individualized full-year wellness program and monthly billing for routine wellness services.
In addition, the study identified that the care of cats may account for up to 80 percent of all practice growth opportunities and recommends that veterinarians provide more cat-friendly reception areas that are quiet and dog-free and to maintain a high level of cat-related training among clinic staff.
Pet owners have also made it clear to veterinarians that they are looking for individualized care when visiting the clinic and want to work with the same veterinarian each time they visit the clinic, a practice that veterinarians embrace.
About the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study
The first phase of the study focused on the decline in veterinary usage from the pet owners’ perspective, identifying six root causes: the economic impact of the recession; fragmentation of veterinary services; the use of the Internet vs. office visits; feline resistance; perception that regular medical check-ups are unnecessary; and cost of care.
The objectives of the second phase of the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study were to identify any correlation between clinic revenue and pet visits, to identify the use of successful practice tools and to establish the degree to which veterinarians are utilizing services identified in phase one of the study. Results are based on a nationally representative quantitative online survey of 401 companion animal veterinarians.
Bayer HealthCare LLC, Animal Health Division, Brakke Consulting and NCVEI conducted the study, and collaborated with several university experts. Brakke Consulting and NCVEI are also assisting Bayer in developing solutions to increase veterinary visits.
About Bayer HealthCare LLC, Animal Health Division
EUR 16.913 billion Germany
EUR 1,120 million Shawnee, Kansas www.bayerhealthcare.com
About Brakke Consulting
Dallas Chicago Omaha St. Louis Stuart, Florida Osaka Sydney www.brakkeconsulting.com
January 2000 www.NCVEI.org
SOURCE Bayer HealthCare LLC, Animal Health Division