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E- Source

An electronic newsletter highlighting veterinary issues for Illinois veterinarians

December 5, 2003                                                                                                              Volume 1, Number 1

In This Issue

·    ISVMA Conference

·    Veterinary Profession - Statistics

·    ISVMA Website to be Developed

Category of Links

Contact Us

ISVMA 123rd Annual Convention Approaches

The ISVMA Annual Convention will be held February 14-16, 2004 at the Sheraton Chicago Northwest Hotel in Arlington Heights. An outstanding program has been planned. New for this year is a seminar by Karyn Gavzer – “TEAMWORK PAYS! Winning Ways For Successful Practice Teams.” Bring your key staff members for the best interactive seminar you will ever attend. Practice what you learn and immediately increase your bottom line by functioning more efficiently as a finely tuned team!

Another reason to attend this year’s conference is to express your personal gratitude and the appreciation of the veterinary profession in Illinois to Eve Larocca who has retired as the executive director of IMHA after 21 years. A special recognition ceremony is planned and it would be a wonderful gesture to have an unprecedented turnout to give Eve the sendoff she deserves.

U.S. Department of Labor Report

The U.S. Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics has released a report that contains information on the nature of the work, working conditions, training and other qualifications, job outlook, and average earnings.

Veterinarians held about 59,000 jobs in 2000. About 28 percent were self-employed in solo or group practices. Most others were employees of another veterinary practice. The Federal Government employed about 800 civilian veterinarians, chiefly in the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. Other employers of veterinarians are State and local governments, colleges of veterinary medicine, medical schools, research laboratories, animal food companies, and pharmaceutical companies. A few veterinarians work for zoos; but most veterinarians caring for zoo animals are private practitioners who contract with zoos to provide services, usually on a part-time basis.

Employment of veterinarians is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2010. Job openings stemming from the need to replace veterinarians who retire or otherwise leave the labor force will be almost as numerous as new jobs resulting from employment growth over the 2000-10 period.

Most veterinarians practice in animal hospitals or clinics and care primarily for companion animals. The number of dogs as pets is expected to increase more slowly during the projection period than in the previous decade. However, faster growth of the cat population is expected to increase the demand for feline medicine and veterinary services, offsetting any reduced demand for veterinary care for dogs. Also, as non-necessity income generally increases with age, those who own pets may be more inclined to seek veterinary services. Small increases in the total number of household pets, coupled with the movement of baby boomers into the 34 to 59 year age group, means that the willingness by pet owners to pay for veterinary services should continue. In addition, pet owners are becoming more aware of the availability of advanced care and may increasingly take advantage of nontraditional veterinary services, such as preventive dental care, and may more willingly pay for intensive care than in the past. Finally, new technologies and medical advancements should permit veterinarians to offer better care to animals.

New graduates continue to be attracted to small animal medicine because they prefer to deal with pets and to live and work near highly populated areas. This situation will not necessarily limit the ability of veterinarians to find employment or to set up and maintain a practice in a particular area. Rather, beginning veterinarians may take positions requiring evening or weekend work to accommodate the extended hours of operation that many practices are offering. Some veterinarians take salaried positions in retail stores offering veterinary services. Self-employed veterinarians usually have to work hard and long to build a sufficient client base.

The number of jobs for large animal veterinarians is expected to grow slowly, because productivity gains in the agricultural production industry mean demand for fewer veterinarians than before to treat food animals. Nevertheless, job prospects may be better for veterinarians who specialize in farm animals than for small animal practitioners, because most veterinary medical college graduates do not have the desire to work in rural or isolated areas.

Continued support for public health and food safety, international and national disease control programs, and biomedical research on human health problems will contribute to the demand for veterinarians, although such positions are few in number. However, anticipated budget tightening in the Federal Government may lead to low funding levels for some programs, limiting job growth. Veterinarians with training in public health and epidemiology should have the best opportunities for a career in the Federal Government.

Median annual earnings of veterinarians were $60,910 in 2000. The middle 50 percent earned between $47,020 and $84,220. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,670, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $128,720.

According to a survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association, average starting salaries of 2000 veterinary medical college graduates varied by type of practice as follows:

Small animal, predominant


Small animal, exclusive


Large animal, exclusive


Large animal, predominant


Mixed animal




New veterinary medical college graduates who enter the Federal Government usually start at $35,808. Beginning salaries were slightly higher in selected areas where the prevailing local pay level was higher. The average annual salary for veterinarians in the Federal Government in nonsupervisory, supervisory, and managerial positions was $ 67,482 in 2001.

ISVMA Has Designs on New Website

The newest veterinary graduates have grown up in front of computers. The clients they hope to attract are likely to have at least one computer in their home – and chances are, they are wired into the Internet. ISVMA can provide a valuable resource to this generation of technologically inclined. Staff is currently working on the draft of an outline for a dynamic, interactive website design. Clients would be able to search for veterinarians by county and link directly to the veterinarian’s practice website, if desired. Members could have access to bill text of important legislation and be able to print proposed rules changes from the regulatory agencies. Non-members could sign up on-line to be part of the new ISVMA. Articles on the veterinary profession and practice updates could be posted. The ISVMA website would become the most wanted start page for all Illinois veterinarians!

The launch of the new website will only happen with directed contributions from the veterinary profession and from vendors. If you are interested in contributing to the development of the development of ISVMA.ORG then contact Peter Weber at (217) 523-VETS (8387).