Recession Impacts Many Veterinarians' Income

Veterinarians are feeling the impact of the recession and it's hitting many with salary decreases, according to the 2011 American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Report on Veterinary Compensation.

"It's important to note that average salaries did decline in some types of private practice, including equine and large animal, but these declines clearly could have been worse," says Karen Felsted, CPA, MS, CVPM, chief executive officer of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues. "We know that veterinary visits have declined due to the recession. Veterinarians are not recession proof."

While many veterinarians did see salary losses, the AVMA study shows that average salary for private practice veterinarians increased from $115,447 in 2007 to $121,303 in 2009, largely due to the fact that companion animal exclusive veterinarians saw salary increases from $113,373 to $124,768.

Those practices that saw decreases included mixed animal practices (which had average salaries of $117,201 in 2007 and dropped to $107,064 in 2009), companion animal predominant ($120,462 in 2007 to $117,524)in 2009), and equine veterinarians ($131,195 to $126,641).

Food animal exclusive veterinarians also saw a dip in pay from 2007 to 2009, from $139,612 to $131,479, but they are still the highest paid veterinarians working in private practice. All veterinarians working in public and corporate positions experienced salary increases between 2007 and 2009, and the top earning veterinarians in 2009 worked in industry, on average earning $167,415.

The AVMA Report on Veterinary Compensation is available for purchase by the general public, and is also available to members of the media. The report is available to AVMA members at a special reduced price.

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