Veterinary Diagnostics Market Quietly Outshines Medical Counterpart for Another Year

Veterinary Diagnostics Market Quietly Outshines Medical Counterpart for Another Year

The past year visited the U.S. IVD market with rigid cuts in lab test reimbursements and a regulatory roll-out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that did little to instill industry confidence. Cost drivers in medical spending were able to only in part offset such market disturbances, and generate national IVD market growth of around 3%. Quietly outperforming its larger sister market, the U.S. veterinary diagnostics market grew by about 5% in 2013.

The fundaments of the veterinary diagnostics market in the United States were tested by the severe decline in consumer spending on pets during the economic recession. Typically a growth market, veterinary practices were challenged for growth between 2009 and 2011. Subsequent recovery in the economy and consumer confidence reversed the fortunes of the veterinary care industry, and paved the way for renewed, consistent growth in the veterinary diagnostics market.

Several metrics support the projection of veterinary diagnostics market growth: veterinary lab testing service revenue, rapid assay sales, and veterinary lab requisition volumes under leaders IDEXX and VCA Antech. Trends in these metrics reflect the base conditions in demand for veterinary testing by also excluding companies’ sales or placements of capital instrumentation at veterinary practices.

 IDEXX is a diversified IVD testing company offering veterinary lab testing services in addition to veterinary diagnostic instrumentation, test kits, and consumables. Excluding the company’s growth through acquisition, lab testing service revenue under IDEXX has grown by approximately 8% annually in the past two years. IDEXX rapid assay product sales- factoring directly into the veterinary diagnostics market - have risen by an average of 5% annually in the past two years. Operating the nation’s largest network of veterinary reference labs, VCA Antech has seen lab requisition volumes grow by an average of 2% annually over the past two years and associated revenue by around 4%.

The U.S. market for pet care products and veterinary services is dependent upon a customer base of upper middle-income to affluent pet owners. While veterinary office visits may rise only slightly (or even fall) in some years, test costs are increasing substantially with greater product complexity and growing reliance on IVD products during episodes of veterinary care. Future veterinary diagnostics market growth will depend upon the development of markets for more sophisticated products such as molecular diagnostic tests and increasing testing intensity as instrument placements decline in saturated markets.