How COVID-19 influenced veterinary industry

21 December 2020 – News

To understand the impact of COVID-19 on the veterinary sector and how it can best adapt to the new challenges it faces, an online study was conducted from mid-March to the end of April 2020. Participants included practice owners and partners from both large and small animal practices in eight countries: the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the USA, Canada, and Australia.
The results showed that additional policies around personal hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting the practice had been adopted in all countries while practices in the UK, Italy, France and Canada, were more likely to see emergency cases only. The biggest impact on footfall and revenue was seen in the UK, followed by Italy.
The cancellation of visits from sales representatives/account managers increased was a common trend and asking clients to wait outside while the pet was brought into the practice for examination was introduced in many countries. Online shopping services were also created – or improved – to reduce the number of visits to practices.
In all of the countries, many clients were seen to stock up on medication, particularly during the first observation period (14-18 March). This behavior showed a decline further into the lockdown when the cancellation of appointments also became more frequent, together with increasing client requests for information on COVID1-19 and their animals.
Comments from veterinarians participating in the survey highlight their frustration at some client behavior, in addition to problems caused by shortages of supplies and protective equipment, a lack of support from government and general uncertainty as to the future.