Rising Patient Costs: Veterinary Services
For most pet owners, the family dog or cat is often thought of as one of the family. They tag along on family vacations. They’re present for the family photos. And sometimes, just like their human counterparts, they get sick and require special care. But even though most pet owners are committed to the health of their furry loved ones, more often they’re having to grapple with increasing costs, which can also create uncomfortable decisions to be made when a pet is significantly ill. Today we look at some of the factors driving these cost increases, and how the industry is coping with them.
Increases in Veterinary Trade Services and Equipment.
Much like their counterparts in traditional medicine, many veterinary practice owners are facing an increase in operating costs due to services and equipment that is beyond their control. In a letter to the editor of dvm360, one practice owner cited lab prices as having increased 6% a year for the past decade, which is well in excess of typical annual inflation. While that imbalance may be able to be absorbed over a short period of time, eventually those costs need to be passed along to the consumer, which has definitely been a leading factor in driving up overall service costs.
The “Corporatizing” of Veterinary Services.
No different than in other verticals, “mom and pop” businesses are becoming more rare, and larger entities have stepped in to create economies of scale. A major tipping point in veterinary services was when the larger pet store companies moved into services. PetSmart invited Banfield Pet Hospital into many of its retail locations, thus greatly expanding their reach, and recently has begun courting other providers to move in as well. It can be difficult for smaller providers to compete with the resources and marketing budgets these national outfits can provide, and the rise of more “commoditized” services also gives an advantage to larger entities that can better absorb tighter margins.
Labor shortages in Veterinary Care.
Simple supply and demand also seem to be impacting veterinary costs. The shortage of qualified veterinarians is so great the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently lobbied Congress to pass legislation that would assist in the repayment of loans for veterinary schools, citing threats to livestock and possibly human health as repercussions for not doing so. Furthermore, the organization has done research that concludes salaries have actually been dropping for veterinarians, which may also be contributing to the shortage. Regardless of the cause or the proper way to address it, it is clear that more vets are desperately needed, particularly in rural areas of the country.
With significant, and sometimes chronic pet conditions that can drive costs as high as over $10,000, new financing solutions that can help pet owners fund necessary veterinary care will be critical. At Curae, we provide financing of up to 100% of a procedure’s cost within seconds of an application, with the provider being paid in as little as 48 hours. Our programs cover a wide range of credit scores, and patients can research the availability of offers without impacting their credit. Our solution also benefits veterinary practice owners who can focus on treating the animals they love to care for and avoid uncomfortable financing conversations with their clients. Fill out an application today to find out how your veterinary practice might benefit from Curae.