Too many veterinarians? Jury's still out
As veterinarians, we do best when we make evidence-based decisions. The same holds true for us as a profession. But supply and demand is one issue the profession is unable to address due to a lack of evidence. Do we have an oversupply of veterinarians or under-demand? Or is it a worst-case combination of the two?
In 2011, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP) concluded that " there is not currently a shortage of veterinarians for rural food supply veterinary private practice and that the perception by veterinary schools and the public that there continues to be a shortage of rural practitioners is leading to increased class sizes at veterinary schools and the creation of new veterinary schools."
We submit that this has been an observable trend and that its impact over time is undeniable—the job market is changing dramatically. We reject the notion of overcapacity and underutilization in our profession, however, as this implies the market should meet the supply rather than the other way around.
Without objective, timely, comprehensive and relevant information, pre-vet students cannot evaluate the soundness of a career in veterinary medicine. Without objective, timely, comprehensive and relevant information, current and graduating students cannot construct accurate budgets that enable them to stay afloat as they begin their careers. Without objective, timely, comprehensive and relevant information, those guiding the profession cannot know which direction to steer.
Dr. Eden Myers is a relief veterinarian in Ky. This article appears in full on her website http://justvetdata.com/. Dr. Ryan Gates is a partner at Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.