Mars Veterinary Health, a division within Mars Petcare, commissioned a new study to quantify the chronic shortage of veterinarians at companion animal hospitals. Mars owns and operates a network of 2,500 veterinary clinics, hospitals, and diagnostic labs across 21 countries.

STUDY: Pet Healthcare in the U.S. – Are there enough Veterinarians? (4.14.21)

  • U.S. pet healthcare spending is predicted to increase 33% between 2019 and 2029.
  • Nearly 2,000 baby boomer veterinarians are retiring each year.
  • The number of U.S. veterinarians is increasing just 2.7% annually.
  • More than 40,000 new veterinarians are needed to meet projected demand in 2030.
  • A shortage of nearly 15,000 veterinarians will likely still exist by 2030.


The acquisition of private-owned animal hospitals by corporate entities such as veterinary consolidators (many are funded by private equity firms) has accelerated over the last few years. Its estimated that 25% of all companion animal practices in the United States are now owned by corporate consolidators. The common perceptions about corporate-owned veterinary practices is that these large national corporations focus too much on the bottom line (THE DESIRE FOR PROFITS) and that veterinarians are under pressure to see high numbers of patients (DOCTORS SPENDING LESS TIME WITH PATIENTS).

According to a 2020 study (The Voice of the Veterinary Community) by the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC), a non-profit organization that provides support services for veterinary healthcare professionals, found that the 2nd leading stressor for veterinarians was “the pressure to adhere to appointment time restrictions.”

The business model for veterinary consolidators requires a Support Center which includes a large infrastructure of managers and support teams. The Support Center operates from a remote location. In many cases, this facility is located in a different state, not in close proximity to the veterinary practice that is owned and operated by the consolidator.

According to Liz Hughston, President of the National Veterinary Professionals Union:


“It’s nearly impossible to voice your concerns owing to the multiple layers of management. She explained that this is extremely problematic for an industry in which many employees are underpaid and feel undervalued.”


  • How Veterinary Consolidators Are Building a Future-Proof Enterprise (1.27.21)

    • “Consolidating practices means merging different cultures, workflows and systems, which is a significant stressor for employees. If not managed properly, the frustration and uncertainty caused by the changes will result in increased staff turnover post-acquisition.”
  • Does Corporate-Owned Veterinary Practices have a High Employee Turnover Problem?
    • Approximately 70% of the job listings on the AVMA Veterinary Career Center and other job sites come from corporate or consolidated practices. In contrast, about 35% of veterinary associates are employed by corporate practices, according to JAVMAnews.
  • How Private Equity Is Ruining American Health Care (5.20.20)

    • “Dermatologists at most of the companies say they were pushed to see as many as twice the number of patients a day, which made them feel rushed and unable to provide the same quality of care.”