Veterinarian demand is soaring across the United States, with some states facing a particularly acute shortage of veterinary professionals.
Hundreds of thousands of pet owners are searching online for veterinary help every month, with a new study showing the extent of medical care needed for pets and the US states where vets are most in demand.
The study, conducted by supplement experts PetLab.com, examined the number of web searches for veterinarian queries and compared this data to the number of residents in the state to see where most queries are being searched for and the highest percentage of requests compared to the human population.
Vets in Need
The study results show that Colorado is the state where veterinarians are the most in-demand, with an average of 75,927 searches for vets each month – the equivalent of 1,300 searches for every state resident.
That’s despite the state having the third-highest number of veterinarians in the country, with over 2,300 employed in Colorado. This equates to 40 vets for every 100,000 residents.
Michigan ranks second in the list with 1,297 searches per 100,000 residents, while third is West Virginia, which has 1,280 monthly searches for every 100,000 citizens.
Highest Vet Searches
The state with the highest total average of searches for veterinarian care each month is California, which has 321,492 searches on average each month. Despite this, the state is 35th on the list regarding demand vs. population, with those searches equating to just 824 for every 100,000 people.
The other states that rank highly for total searches include Texas, with 273,304, and Florida, with a monthly average of 262,373 searches. Florida does make the top 10 for demand against the population, with 1,180 veterinarian searches for every 100,000 residents.
Treatment Not Needed
Looking instead at the bottom of the rankings, the state with the lowest demand for veterinary treatment is Hawaii – 6,395 monthly searches equates to only 444 for every 100,000 people living on the islands.
Alaska is the next lowest again, with 3,608 searches and an average of 492 per 100,000 citizens. It’s tied with South Dakota, which has more searches (4,479) but a higher population, so the 492 average remains the same. It’s marginally better than North Dakota, which has 517 vet searches for every 100,000 human residents.
Lowest Ranked States by Total Searches
Regarding the number of monthly searches, Alaska’s 3,608 is the lowest average in the US. Wyoming sits just above Alaska, with 3,634 web searches each month.
North Dakota is next with 4,032 average monthly searches, followed by South Dakota’s 4,479. But then it’s Vermont next, with just 5,704 monthly web searches. That could be deemed surprising, considering how Vermont is the number one state for cat ownership in the US, with 45% of households owning a cat.
Existing Veterinarian Contacts
These figures are indicative of the need for more veterinarians in the country. These statistics aren’t measuring how many people need veterinarian help each month – rather, how many people don’t have a regular veterinarian and are searching for help.
Many people will have a veterinarian already and won’t need to search online for them. Many animals are scared of a veterinarian visit, so routine and regularity can help – although not always, as some animals may know the environment and become more anxious.
However, most pet owners will still have a veterinarian’s details to hand already. Hence, the online searches are more indicative of where there is a need for more vets.
There could also be a trend for pet owners to try and self-diagnose their pets using online information. It may be that they aren’t comfortable taking their pet to a vet or feel like they don’t have time. Often, it’s a concern of spending cash on a veterinarian’s opinion when it might be nothing to worry about.
It’s still recommended that owners never rely on online information only and always seek in-person veterinarian help when concerned about their animal’s health and wellbeing. ‘Digital diagnosis’ is a risk that should always be avoided.
It’s important to note that the study conducted by PetLab.com did have a marginal bias toward dog owners. The study used ten search terms to identify trends, of which three were dog-specific – “emergency dog vet near me,” “dog vet,” and “dog vet near me.” The other seven terms were generic, looking for veterinarians or animal hospitals.
It’s unlikely that adding cat-related terms into the study would’ve had a significant impact. While some people may search for terms specific to taking a cat to a vet, most pet owners look for veterinarians without the clarifier for which type of animal.
Total Monthly Requests
The study revealed that, on average, there are over 3.2 million searches every month for someone needing a veterinarian for their pet.
With the vast majority of these searches related to cats and dogs and an estimated combined population of 128 million of those animals in US households, it can be assumed that around 2.5% of all pets in the US require veterinarian treatment in the country every month where their owners don’t already have a regular vet to speak to.
This demonstrates just how important the profession is and how in-demand veterinarians are, especially with the growth of pet ownership since 2020.
This article was produced by Floppycats and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,