More Interest in Veterinary Specialties?

Although it’s been more than a year since I saw this article, I think it’s still germane and good to share: Chart of the month: Shifting demand for veterinarians.  In the article, there is a graph indicating the percentage of veterinarians in general practice, specialty practice, and emergency practice.  You can see that there is a steady progressive decrease in general practitioners, and an increase in specialty and emergency practitioners.

They further break down the change in the number of specialists for some disciplines over two periods: 2007-2012 and 2012-2018.  You can see that most specialties have grown in both periods, but more in the 2012-2018 period.  I dug into the original data for some more insights.

Compared with 2011, in 2018 there were fewer specialists in 2 specialty colleges: ABVP and ACPV.  Within ABVP, the Avian, Canine & Feline, Equine, Feline, and Swine subspecialties all had decreased.  In contrast, there were more specialists in 15 specialty colleges with at least 50 members in 2018: Welfare, Anesthesia, Behavior, Clinical Pharmacology, Dermatology, Emergency, Internal Medicine, Nutrition, Ophthalmology, Pathology, Radiology, Sports Medicine, Surgery, Zoo Med, and Dentistry.  The greatest change was in Sports Medicine, which had an incredible growth of 733% in 2018 compared with 2011!  Other large growers were Small Animal Surgery (124%), Welfare (96%), Large Animal Surgery (81%), and Emergency (80%).

What can you conclude from this data, as someone continuing their path through veterinary medicine?  First, general practice is absolutely still a viable career path and one that is necessary and valuable.  Second, that specialty practice is expanding, so there may be more opportunities than in the past for specialty training.

For those of you interested in specialty practice and academia, it’s a very exciting time!  There is more demand from clients, more amazing technology and knowledge and techniques, and more opportunities than ever before.  Let me help guide your path and improve your applications- email me at today!

2 comments on “More Interest in Veterinary Specialties?

  1. -

    What an interesting chart. I’m not in veterinary medicine myself (I like to tell my friends I’m a “people nurse” at an urgent care clinic, lol), but I have a lot of friends in vet school right now. Most of them are pursuing specializations because it’s easer to make money, apparently. Just like with people doctors!

    • - Post author

      Yes, given the massive debt students take to go to vet school, pursuing a specialty is a good option to get a higher income to improve the debt:income ratio. The problem is, specialties can be hard to get! It’s not to be relied on, unfortunately.

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