New Studies Find Veterinarian Shortage Could Leave 75 Million Pets Without Medical Care by 2030

Mars Veterinary Health had researchers look into the current veterinarian shortage and how it could impact pets and their owners over the next several years

Dog at vet
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New research into the shortage of veterinarians and other pet health professionals has revealed alarming numbers.

Mars Veterinary Health, the world's largest provider of veterinary care and employer of veterinary professionals, recently had researchers look into the reported staff shortages in the veterinary field and begin to quantify this data and identify solutions.

The studies found, according to Mars Veterinary Health, that there are barely enough veterinarians right now to cover the current demand for pet medical care, which has surged due to the number of people who welcomed pets over the pandemic. Mars Veterinary Health reported a 6.5 percent increase in vet appointments for 2021.

With the increased interest in pet ownership, researchers predict U.S. pet healthcare spending will increase 33 percent between 2019 and 2029. Unfortunately, the number of new veterinarians entering the field each year usually increases by just 2.7% annually, while roughly 2,000 vets retire from the profession each year.

Considering these current numbers, Mars Veterinary Health expects that to meet the projected healthcare needs of U.S. pets in 2030, over 41,000 vets will need to enter the companion animal practice over the next ten years. With an average of 2,500-2,600 graduates becoming veterinarians each year, there is an estimated 15,000 veterinarian shortage for U.S. animals by 2030.

According to Banfield Pet Hospital, a potential shortage of this size would leave 75 million pets without veterinary care by 2030.

To combat this shortage and prevent burdening operating veterinarians with more stress, Mars Veterinary Health is working on solutions, including supporting enrollment expansion across the American veterinary medical colleges — with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Additionally, Mars Veterinary Health is exploring preventative healthcare for pets, telehealth for animals, and innovative practice models as ways to provide access to healthcare to more pets with less strain on vets.

"Early in the pandemic, increases in pet adoptions — and the strengthened bond between people and their pets — was a bright spot in our newsfeeds, but it had the unintended effect of accelerating an already existing veterinary professional staffing shortfall. While the shortage is a serious issue, it's not insurmountable if we stay focused and work together as an industry to re-envision a more sustainable future. Veterinary professionals are among the most resilient people I know, and in partnership with pet owners, we will make a better world for pets," Dr. Jennifer Welser, Chief Medical Officer at Mars Veterinary Health, said of the steps forward to avoid the vet shortage the research suggests.

To learn more about how Mars Veterinary Health is supporting upcoming veterinarians, including $25 million in debt relief by 2025, visit

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