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Objective—To evaluate US consumer expenditures for veterinary services, pets-pet supplies, and pet-related services.

Design—Retrospective economic analysis.

Sample Population—US consumers from 1980 through 2005.

Procedures—Descriptive statistics and probit regressions were calculated.

Results—From 1980 to 2005, total inflation-adjusted expenditures on pet-related and veterinary services increased, as did the percentage of households with a pet-related expenditure. The percentage of households with veterinary service expenditures was fairly constant. Among households with a pet-related expenditure, the percentage purchasing veterinary services decreased. The probability for pet-related and veterinary service expenditures increased with income, education, and family size and was higher for household heads who were white, were married, owned their residence, and lived in a rural area.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Overall spending on veterinary services increased substantially, providing no indication that successful practices should change strategy. Households that spent money on veterinary services increased their spending sufficiently to exceed the loss of income for veterinarians associated with the increasing proportion of pet-owning households that did not spend anything on veterinary services. Because the probability of veterinary service expenditures was strongly related to household income, caution is suggested in planning provision of veterinary services when incomes are constrained. Among households with pet-related expenditures, the decreasing percentage of households with veterinary service expenditures suggests a growing proportion of pet owners who are not having their veterinary service needs met. Because non-white households were less likely to purchase veterinary services, the veterinary profession cannot afford to delay efforts to enhance diversity and cultural competence.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To compare present values of expected income streams for 5 distinct veterinary medical career tracks.

Design—Present value model.

Sample Population—AVMA survey data.

Procedures—Present values of expected income streams (net of debt repayment) were created and ranked. Sensitivity to each independent variable was assessed.

Results—Career present value at 34 years after graduation (CPV34) was highest for board-certified specialist (SP; $2,272,877), followed by practice owner (PO; $2,119,596), practice owner buying into practice after 10 years (PO-10; $1,736,333), SP working three-fouths time (SP3/4; $1,702,744), and general practitioner (GP; $1,221,131). Compared with CPV34 for SP, other career tracks yielded values of 93.3% (PO), 76.4% (PO-10), 74.9% (SP3/4), and 53.7% (GP). The model was robust to debt, interest rate, loan term, and discount rate but was sensitive to mean starting incomes and mean incomes.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Greatest return on time and money invested by a veterinary student is through practicing full-time as an SP or through being a PO. Being an SP or SP3/4 was substantially more lucrative than being a GP and was comparable to being a PO. Practice ownership and working as an SP3/4 may be options for balancing financial gain with free time. Specialty training and practice ownership may be career tracks with the best potential repayment options for veterinarians with a large educational debt. Regardless of the amount of debt, the type of practice, mean incomes in a particular field, personal lifestyle, and professional interests are important factors when deciding among career tracks.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To gain a better understanding of the role of interpersonal trust in veterinarian-client interactions during routine health-care visits, develop a measure of trust uniquely suited to the context of veterinary medicine, and interpret the actions, beliefs, and perceptions that capture client trust toward veterinarians.

Design—Correlational study.

Sample—103 veterinary students and 19 standardized clients with pets from a college of veterinary medicine at a large public Midwestern university.

Procedures—A measure of trust specific to veterinarian-client interactions was constructed on the basis of preexisting conceptualizations of the construct and administered to veterinary students and standardized clients following interactions in 2 medical scenarios in a high-fidelity simulated animal health clinic. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analytic techniques were used to validate the measure of trust, and hierarchic linear modeling was used to explore indicators of standardized client trust perceptions in one of the scenarios.

Results—Factor analysis revealed that the measure captured 2 perceptions indicative of trust in veterinary contexts: professionalism and technical candor. Students who had behaviors reflecting these factors as well as those who were perceived as more technically competent were seen as more trustworthy by standardized clients.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The development of trustworthy relationships between clients and veterinarians is important to the continued growth and success of the profession. By identifying characteristics of veterinarian trustworthiness and developing related measurement tools, proactive approaches to monitoring veterinarian-client relations can be implemented and incorporated into veterinary training and practice programs to identify areas for improvement.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association