CONSOLIDATOR OWNERSHIP OF GENERAL PRACTICES IS RAPIDLY ACCELERATING:
Based on current trends, corporate consolidators (many are owned and or controlled by private equity firms) could potentially own and operate up to 60% of all general veterinary practices within the next decade, representing approximately 75% (often buy larger practices that employ many DVMs) of the total general practice market.

Consolidators seek to grow very rapidly — buying as many veterinary hospitals as fast as possible. Veterinary consolidators generally pay a premium (sometimes two or three times more) than what an independent veterinarian or an associate doctor would offer — independent practice owners selling out to big corporations.

Acquisitions of veterinary practices are primarily tracked by Brakke Consulting, a leading management consulting firm specializing in the animal health, veterinary and pet industries. The vast majority of transactions are not required to be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which seeks to protect consumers and promote competition – imposes prior notice and approval requirements on a very limited number of transactions.

CONSOLIDATOR OWNERSHIP OF GENERAL PRACTICES – ESTIMATED MARKET SHARE:

  • 2023:
    • It’s estimated that consolidators acquired 500 independent veterinary practices in 2023 according to Idexx data.7
  • 2022: 25-30%3
  • 2021: 25%2
    • Consolidators acquired between 800 and 1,000 independent companion animal practices in the U.S. according to Brakke Consulting.4 This represents approximately 3.3% of all veterinary practices in the U.S.
    • Idexx data estimates that 1,550 independent practices were acquired by veterinary consolidators in 2021.7
    • Consolidators accounted for nearly 50% of all companion animal practice revenues according to Brakke Consulting.4
    • Consolidators accounted for at least 40%, and potentially closer to 50%, of all client visits, as they often own larger practices according to Brakke Consulting.5
  • 2020: 20%1
    • Consolidators acquired between 700 and 800 independent companion animal practices in the U.S. according to Brakke Consulting.6
    • The number of consolidator purchases overtook independent transactions for the first time.1
  • 2019: 16%1
  • 2017: 11%1
  • 2015: 9%1
  • 2013: 8%1
  • 2011: 6%1
  • 1986: 0%1
    • Veterinary Centers of America (VCA) was established in 1986. The company acquired its first veterinary hospital in 1987 and started the consolidation of veterinary practices.

CONSOLIDATOR OWNERSHIP OF SPECIALTY & EMERGENCY ANIMAL HOSPITALS – ESTIMATED MARKET SHARE:

  • Corporate consolidators own and operate approximately 75% of all specialty and emergency pet hospitals.2

OTHER STATISTICS:

  • The estimated number of veterinary practices in the United States vary between just over 28,000 and nearly 32,000 depending on the source of information — 2017 AVMA Report on the Market for Veterinary Services.

IN THE NEXT DECADE, CORPORATE CONSOLIDATOR MARKET SHARE COULD REACH MORE THAN 60%
Based on current trends, corporate consolidators may own, operate and control approximately 6 out of every 10 general veterinary practices in the United States (market share of 60%+) — acquire 1,000 independent practices per year over the next 10 years (3.3% * 10 years) = 33% + 30% (current market share). $.75 of every dollar would be spent at a corporate owned veterinary practice (Total General Practice Market Size of 75%).

REFERENCES:

  • 1 | 2021 Brakke Industry Overview
  • 2 | 2022 Brakke Industry Overview
  • 3 | Veterinary Practice Market Consolidation – Veterinary Advantage (June 2022)
  • 4 | Here To Stay: Independent Veterinary Practices – Veterinary Advantage (August 2022)
  • 5 | FTC chief to veterinarians: Tell us your antitrust concerns – VIN News Service (10.25.23)
  • 6 | Pandemic hastens ongoing trend in veterinary consolidation – VIN News Service (12.30.21)
  • 7 | What’s Going on With Veterinary Consolidation? – Today’s Veterinary Business (11.27.23)

RECENT NEWS:

FTC Intervenes in Private Equity Firm’s Acquisition of Veterinary Hospitals, Citing Antitrust Concerns (6.18.22)
https://www.pets.care/news/2022/06/ftc-intervenes-in-private-equity-firms-acquisition-of-veterinary-hospitals-citing-antitrust-concerns/

  • “Private equity firms increasingly engage in roll up strategies that allow them to accrue market power off the Commission’s radar,” said Holly Vedova, Director of the Bureau of Competition. “The prior notice and approval provisions will ensure the Commission has full visibility into future consolidation and the ability to address it.”

RELATED:

  • FLIPPING ANIMAL HOSPITALS FOR BIG PROFITS:
    https://www.pets.care/flipping-animal-hospitals-for-big-profits/

    • Hospital groups can sell for hundreds of millions of dollars (often more than $1 billion) to another industry consolidator.
  • UNITED KINGDOM is one of the most concentrated veterinary markets in the world where practices are owned and operated by a small number of corporate groups.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/takeover-of-eight-vet-businesses-could-increase-costs-for-animal-owners

    • In 2013, independent veterinary practices accounted for 89% of the veterinary care market in the UK. By 2021, its share has fallen to 45%.
    • “The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) continues to receive complaints about higher prices or lower quality services as a result of too many vets’ practices in the same area being under the control of a single company.”