The Veterinary Market and Animal Health Industry

The veterinary and animal health market has been consistently growing to meet the demands of pet owners, agribusiness and comparative clinical research.  The animal health market is an integral part of the US economy, including product manufacturing, veterinary services, disease surveillance, and food animal production.  The global animal health market is estimated to approach $40 billion dollars.


US Market Snapshot

The US veterinary market yields approximately $14 billion in ex-manufacturers sales into the companion animal (e.g., dog, cat, horse) and food animal (e.g. cattle, poultry) markets.  The US captures approximately 33% of the total animal health market with key product categories consisting of veterinary drugs (e.g., anti-microbials, anti-inflammatories, parasiticides), veterinary biologics (e.g., vaccines, diagnostic kits), medicated feeds, and other products such as pet nutraceuticals and petfood.

% by product

% of product sales

Veterinary Market Stats

78717estimated US veterinarians in private practice (2022)
85million cared for DOGS in the United States (est. 2020)
60million cared for CATS in the United States (est. 2020)

Animal Health Information and StatisticsVeterinary Market Information


Global ex-manufacturer sales of animal health products is approximately $40 billion dollars.  The United States represents ~33% of this market.

Veterinary Companies Page Link

animal health marketThe Veterinary Market: The veterinary market can be generally categorized by species, product type, channels of distribution, and geographic regions.  Each of these veterinary market categorizations have varying economic factors to take into consideration when pursuing the animal health market.  Woods Consulting, LLC can assist clients in defining the appropriate species, target disease, and market to pursue.  The general categories of veterinary products are medicinal feed additives, biologics, parasiticides, anti-infectives, and pain management drugs.

Approval Timeline for Veterinary Products: As a rule of thumb, most veterinary drugs and biologics for companion animal use can take 3-5 years to obtain veterinary market approval. For livestock, veterinary drugs may take even longer as approvals for food production animals also requires residue testing and other studies to evaluate the veterinary drugs potential effects in the food chain.

Veterinary and Animal Health Market Segments

Species: Companion Animal (dog, cat and horse), Food Production Animal (cattle, poultry, etc.), Exotics (zoo animals, avian, etc.), or Aquatic (fish and aquaculture).

Veterinary Product Type: Pharmaceuticals (drugs), Biologics (vaccines, immune stimulants, diagnostics), Ectoparasitics (topical flea and tick products), Nutraceuticals (bioactives and natural products), Feed (animal food), or Biosecurity (premise control, disinfectants, etc.).

Major Companion Animal Veterinary Market Categories: In companion animal medicine, major veterinary markets consist of veterinary vaccines, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, deworming agents, flea and tick products, heartworm preventatives, etc.

Major Food Production Animal Veterinary Market Categories: In Food Production Animal medicine, such as poultry, beef production, dairy, and swine, the major veterinary market categories are designed to increase feed efficiency (feed additives) and reduce or prevent diseases (antibiotics, vaccines, etc.). Respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases are among the most common, including mastitis for dairy production.

Sales of Veterinary Products: In general, ex-manufacturer sales of veterinary products can be categorized as follows:
Veterinary Drugs – 62%
Veterinary Biologics – 26%
Feed Additives – 12%

Product Sales by Region: A general breakdown is below.
Americas – 47%
Europe – 31%
ROW – 22%

US Pet Ownership

pet ownershipIn the US, companion animal ownership is estimated to be:

  • ~85 million dogs
  • ~60 million cats
  • ~7 million horses

US Veterinarians and Specialists

veterinary pharmaceutical marketIn the United States, the general breakdown of veterinarians can be categorized as follows:

  • Companion Animal ~ 63,000
  • Equine ~ 3,750
  • Mixed Animal ~ 4,000
  • Food Animal ~3,600
  • Industry ~3,100

  Link to American Veterinary Medical Association’s Statistics Page

Links to Veterinary Specialties in the United States and Europe

The following are links to veterinary specialty websites.  In addition to the customary 4 years of veterinary medical training, many veterinarians pursue advanced training.

Common Veterinary Diseases

comparative diseasesCommon Veterinary Diseases of Companion Animals

There are a variety of common veterinary diseases, many of which mimic those in people.  Dogs and cats (companion animals) suffer from a range of diseases and disorders, which often require treatment with veterinary drugs, devices, biologics, supplements, special diets, etc.

Listed below are some of the common veterinary diseases and reasons for dogs and cats presenting to veterinary hospitals for treatment.  Many of these conditions and diseases are very similar to human diseases, and many of the same treatments are used in dogs and cats as they are in people.

  • Musculoskeletal and orthopedic disease
  • Dental disease and periodontal disease
  • Gastrointestinal tract, hepatic and pancreatic disease
  • Cardiac disease including congestive heart failure and dilative cardiomyopathy
  • Lower urinary tract and kidney disease
  • Ocular diseases such as cataracts and dry eye
  • Neurologic and spinal cord disease
  • Infectious disease (bacterial, fungal, viral)
  • Cancer and neoplastic disease
  • Dermatologic disease including atopy and allergic dermatitis
  • Ear disease including infections
  • Endocrine diseases such as diabetes and thyroid disorders
  • Respiratory tract disease
  • Obesity
  • Behaviorial problems including phobias and separation anxiety

Comparative and Translational Medicine

Studying new therapeutics in companion animals, such as cancer, can benefit both people and pets.  In addition to cancer, dogs also develop a range of orthopedic, dermatological, ophthalmic, autoimmune, immune mediated, gastrointestinal, and other conditions which are comparative to humans.  This similarity in pathophysiology allows researchers to study veterinary diseases which can lead to treatments for veterinary and human medicine.  More on veterinary comparative medicine – Veterinary Clinical Research page.

Veterinary Market Misconceptions

There are a variety of misconceptions about the veterinary market.
Here are a few of the common false impressions many clients have about the veterinary market.

  • Veterinary pharmaceuticals and biologics don’t require approvals: To be legally marked and distributed in the US, veterinary pharmaceuticals must undergo a formal approval process with the respective regulatory agency.
  • Veterinary pharmaceuticals and biologics have a very easy approval process:  Not necessarily, many veterinary biologics and pharmaceuticals can take years and millions of dollars to develop.
  • If approved for human use, the pharmaceuticals and biologics can be automatically used in veterinary medicine without an approval: To be labeled and marketed for veterinary use, a pharmaceutical or biologic must satisfy those requirements as set forth by the respective regulatory agency which regulates the veterinary product.
  • The development of the identical molecule for human and animal health purposes will devalue the asset for human health. There is a long history of precedence that contradicts this misconception. The veterinary channels of distribution and conditions of use (prescription) are vastly different from the human pharmaceutical market, creating a legal and commercial barrier to value erosion.  Antibiotics and steroids are excellent examples of the same product or molecule being used in both human and veterinary medicine, yet often at very different price points.
  • If an identical product (or formula) is marketed in both human and veterinary medicine, but the cost for the veterinary version is substantially less, physicians may choose to use the veterinary formula thereby reducing human sales. Physicians are not eligible to prescribe a veterinary labeled product, for humans or animals. Interestingly, in the absence of an approved product for veterinary use, veterinarians are able to prescribe human pharmaceuticals under certain conditions covered by the Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act (AMDUCA).
  • If a drug or vaccine is already approved for humans, the veterinary approval is very easy. To obtain a veterinary approval from the FDA-CVM or USDA-CVB, target animal studies are conducted to verify the product’s safety and efficacy for that particular species. This process can take years, and often millions of dollars.
  • Veterinarians don’t need to see clinical trials, we have some case reports and dozens of great testimonials.  Veterinarians are as demanding as physicians when it comes to evidenced based medicine, so companies better be prepared to have just that, evidence.  Peer reviewed publications are key to gaining market adoption and confidence of key opinion leaders.
  • Pet owners will spend anything on their pets.  Although some people do spend great amounts of money on their pets, this represents the vast minority.
  • Veterinary products are not regulated.  Most (if not all) products labeled for use in veterinary medicine will fall under the purview of a regulatory agency.  Although not all products require a formal approval process (medical devices, nutraceuticals, etc.), their labeling should be in compliance with the regulatory agency which has product purview.  For instance, a veterinary medical device should not make drug claims, or it could be considered misbranded and be subject to regulatory action.
  • All products are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA-CVM). Although the FDA-CVM regulates veterinary drugs, they do not regulate veterinary biologics such as immune modulators, immune stimulants, vaccines, toxoids, antitoxins, antivenoms, and diagnostic kits (veterinary immunobiologics). Veterinary immunobiologics are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Veterinary Market and Animal Health Industry