Objective—To evaluate the present and future supply
of veterinarians in California, in light of changing
trends in animal ownership.
Sample Population—Human and animal populations,
including populations of veterinarians, throughout
the United States.
Procedures—Data on animal and human populations
were compiled from a number of sources, including
the US Census Bureau, American Veterinary Medical
Association, State of California Department of
Finance, and State of California Veterinary Medical
Board. The distribution of veterinarians in California
was contrasted with other health professionals in
California and with that of veterinarians in other
states. Recent changes in veterinary medical demographics
in California were quantified and used to
develop in-state projections about the supply of veterinarians
for the next 20 years.
Results—Although California is the most populous of
the 50 states, only 7 states had fewer veterinarians
per capita. Furthermore, California ranked next to last
among states in increase of number of veterinarians
between 1990 and 1995. Los Angeles County had the
smallest per-capita number of veterinarians among 9
populous California counties. During that period,
California had a net gain of only 6 veterinarians who
were exclusively or predominantly large-animal or
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—If current
trends continue, the per-capita number of veterinarians
will continue to decrease in California. To maintain
the current ratio of 17.8 veterinarians/100,000 people in
California in the future, we estimate that an additional
50 veterinarians above the currently predicted increase
will be required annually. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;216:1753–1757)
OBJECTIVE To determine small animal veterinarians’ opinions and actions regarding costs of care, obstacles to client education about veterinary care costs, and effects of economic limitations on patient care and outcome and professional career satisfaction and burnout.
DESIGN Cross-sectional survey.
SAMPLE 1,122 small animal practitioners in the United States and Canada.
PROCEDURES An online survey was sent to 37,036 veterinarians. Respondents provided information regarding perceived effects of client awareness of costs and pet health insurance coverage on various aspects of practice, the influence of client economic limitations on professional satisfaction and burnout, and proposals for addressing those effects.
RESULTS The majority (620/1,088 [57%]) of respondents indicated that client economic limitations affected their ability to provide the desired care for their patients on a daily basis. Approximately half (527/1,071 [49%]) of respondents reported a moderate-to-substantial level of burnout, and many cited client economic limitations as an important contributing factor to burnout. Only 31% and 23% of respondents routinely discussed veterinary costs and pet insurance, respectively, with clients before pets became ill, and lack of time was cited as a reason for forgoing those discussions. Most respondents felt improved client awareness of veterinary costs and pet health insurance would positively affect patient care and client and veterinarian satisfaction.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested most small animal practitioners believe the veterinary profession needs to take action at educational and organizational levels to inform pet owners and educate and train veterinary students and veterinarians about the costs of veterinary care.