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Too many vets, not enough work: supply and demand in the USA

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THE results of a study of the veterinary workforce in the USA, carried out on behalf of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), have suggested that, in 2012, approximately 12.5 per cent of veterinary services went unused. The study predicts that veterinary services are likely to be underused by 11 to 14 per cent through to 2025.

The study was designed to produce information on the current and future supply of, and demand for, vets and veterinary services in the USA, and was commissioned by the AVMA to help inform strategies to ensure the economic viability of veterinary medicine. Researchers carried out literature reviews, analysed data and surveys and conducted interviews with stakeholders and experts. Variables such as entrants to the veterinary workforce, retirement patterns, work hours and geographical distribution of veterinary services were taken into account, with assumptions being made when data were not available. A survey of vets in clinical practice was also carried out.

According to the results, the demand for veterinary services in 2012 was enough to fully employ only 78,950 of the 90,200 vets who currently work in clinical and non-clinical settings in the USA. However, the researchers conclude that, as veterinary unemployment is relatively …

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