How busy is your clinic?

Plus a must watch ode to vets and vet nurses.

Hello 👋 

Welcome back to another edition of Weekend Rounds!

Today is the first day of Daylight Savings for many, and just as the clocks jumped forward an hour this morning, we’re jumping into the week’s top stories.

📉 Vet Visits Declining
🎥 An Ode to Vets and Vet Nurses
🆕 100 New Deep Sea Creatures
🚒 The Texas Wildfire
🚀 Quick hits

Vet Visits Declining

This week VIN reported on some of the ongoing trends in the profession:

Vet Visits Declining

As we initially covered in a December 2023 edition of Weekend Rounds, the number of client visits per year is falling. According to the AVMA, between August 2021 and August 2023, client visits fell 2.7% while revenues increased 5.7% - a fairly strong indication that pet owners are becoming increasingly sensitive to the rising cost of veterinary services and are delaying visits to the veterinarian.

We don’t know what it’s like in your clinic but the data is painting a clear picture that the demand for veterinary services has been falling since the start of 2022, after a surge during the pandemic. Many pet owners who were locked down with their animals may now be less attentive and more frugal, while rising inflation and interest rates have also dampened spending. Some veterinarians are concerned about the slowdown, while others welcome a return to normalcy. While visits have decreased, overall year to date revenue remains up due to rising prices.

The Slowing of Private Equity

Also outlined in the VIN article, was the slowing of private equity investment. While private equity firms and other investors have been buying up veterinary practices in recent years, this too may be cooling. The number of deals has dropped significantly, as consolidators have become more selective and cautious amid higher borrowing costs. Some consolidators may be struggling to repay their debts, while others are looking for ways to boost their margins by adjusting their pricing and staffing strategies.

So where do we go from here? Some experts are optimistic that visit volumes will rebound as discretionary income levels remain strong and pets are valued as family members. Meanwhile, others predict that interest rates will come down and trigger another wave of consolidation, with larger deals and new segments being targeted. One thing that we know for sure is that the unknown factors - such as the labor market, pricing power, and the regulatory environment - are almost guaranteed to play a pivotal role to determine which path forward the industry takes.

WATCH: An Ode to Vets and Vet Nurses

CVS Veterinary group has produced an Ode to Vets and Veterinary Nurses that is absolutely worth 2 minutes of your time. Featuring an original poem written and performed by Molly Case, the video showcases the incredible work of veterinary professionals. It is a must watch.

100 New Sea Creatures

It’s 2024 and we are still learning new incredible things about our planet. And if you’re anything like us, when you dreamt of being a veterinarian as a young kid, you also dreamed of marine biology so we hope you will appreciate this one.

A recent expedition explored underwater mountains off the coast of Chile in a marine protected area the size of Italy and found 100 new deep sea animals, including corals, sponges, lobsters and more. The scientists used remotely-operated vehicles, multibeam sonar and other sensors to get a comprehensive look at life on a seamount, a mountain created through volcanic activity.

The area's unique combination of currents and a low-oxygen zone mean that many of the animals found there are not found anywhere else on the planet. About half of the animals in this region are endemic.

Check out the stunning imagery of these new species here:

The Texas Wildfire

A team of emergency veterinarians from Texas A&M University have been treating hundreds of animals affected by the Smokehouse Creek fire - the largest fire to ever spread across the Texas Panhandle. The fire, which started last week and is still burning, has killed two people and thousands of livestock, and has caused severe burns, respiratory problems, and hoof damage to many animals.

The veterinary emergency response group is working alongside local ranchers, cowboys, and volunteers to provide medical care and relief to a variety of animals in the area including cows, horses, donkeys, cats, dogs, and even a baby goat. The team is also supporting the search dogs who are currently looking for people injured or stranded by the fire.

Despite the loss of livestock, some economists are suggesting that beef prices won’t be affected.

The people of Texas are showing remarkable resilience and compassion in this challenging time. Some residents of the area have been helping the animals in their own ways such as selling T-shirts to support fire victims, treating animals for smoke inhalation and burns, or feeding and sheltering lost dogs and cats.

Read more in the NY Times and Successful Farming.

Quick Hits

Here are some of the other stories that caught our eye and we're following this week from around the veterinary world and animal kingdom:

Curiosity can lead to discovery: embracing neurodiversity [AVMA]

Wild bees developing tolerance to veterinary drugs [PNAS Nexus]

How to use AI to create a veterinary content calendar [AAHA]

Veterinary startup obtains shark tank funding [DVM 360]

Discussing Pet Spending in 2024 [Vet-Advantage]

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