UK’s Antitrust Watchdog Launches Review into Rising Prices in Veterinary Services Market for Pets

The 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.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK has LAUNCHED a review into the veterinary services market for household pets — figures suggest that the cost of vet services has risen faster than the rate of inflation, which is something that the CMA will be looking into as part of its review.

Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, said:

“There has been a lot of consolidation in the vet industry in recent years, so now is the right time to take a look at how the market is working.”

Independent practices accounted for 89% of the UK veterinary industry in 2013, which fell to approximately 45% by 2021 according to the CMA. In some cases, a single company may own hundreds of practices and it may be unclear to people whether their vet is part of a large group.

The CMA will provide a further update on this review in early 2024, outlining the issues it has identified and its proposed next steps.


Squeezing pet owners for cash is a new low for private equity (9.8.23)

  • More than half of the veterinary practices in Britain are owned by 6 companies, three of which were private equity-backed, according to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Two thirds belonged to a group of three or more, the same research found.

Corporate Consolidator Ownership of Veterinary Practices:

  • In 2022, approximately 25 to 30% of all general practices in the U.S. are owned by corporate consolidators.
  • Based on current trends, corporate consolidators (many owned by private equity firms) could potentially own and operate up to 60% of all general veterinary practices within the next decade, representing approximately 75% of the total general practice market in the United States.

Common Perceptions about Corporate-Owned Veterinary Practices

  • Acquisitions are not publicized: It is hard to tell the difference between an independent, locally owned and operated hospital from a corporate veterinary practice.