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Analysis of the AVMA's electronic membership database provided information on 113,394 veterinarians living in the United States in 2018. At 39%, Millennials represented the highest percentage of the US veterinary workforce, and women (61.7%) outnumbered men (38.2%). Mean age at the time of graduation has increased since 1975, raising concerns that career length for veterinarians may be decreasing, potentially exacerbating veterinarian shortages. Overall, 83.9% of veterinarians were in private clinical practice, and substantial increases between 2008 and 2018 were seen in the numbers of veterinarians in emergency and critical care medicine and in referral or specialty practice.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association



To determine prevalences of low compassion satisfaction (CS), high burnout (BO), and high secondary traumatic stress (STS) scores among full-time US veterinarians and estimate effects of selected demographic, employment-related, and education-related factors on those scores.


5,020 full-time veterinarians who participated in the 2016, 2017, and 2018 AVMA Census of Veterinarians surveys.


Data were obtained from census surveys regarding demographic, employment-related, and education-related factors, and scores assigned to items from a professional quality-of-life instrument designed to measure CS and compassion fatigue (ie, BO and STS) were compared between and among various demographic and employment groups.


Overall, 35.5% of veterinarians were classified as having low CS scores, 50.2% as having high BO scores, and 58.9% as having high STS scores. Controlling for other variables, high educational debt was associated with low CS, high BO, and high STS scores. Veterinarians who spent ≥ 75% of their time working with dogs or cats had higher BO and STS scores than did those who spent < 25% of their time. Veterinarians with more experience and higher annual incomes had higher CS scores and lower BO and STS scores. Women had higher BO and STS scores than did men, but no gender differences were observed in CS scores.


Several variables were identified that may put veterinarians at higher risk than others for compassion fatigue and low CS. These findings may be useful in the development of resources and targeted initiatives to support and defend veterinarian well-being.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association