20 Amazing Facts About the Veterinary Industry in the UK

The veterinary profession is vital to the wellbeing of animals, both for pet care and for agricultural and commercial sectors.

In this collection of interesting vet facts, we examine different aspects of the veterinary industry and the veterinary profession itself. These insightful vet facts shed light on the UK veterinary market, the demographics of veterinarians, their income and job prospects, and the state of the profession and challenges it currently faces:

Veterinary Employment Facts UK

  • 1. In the United Kingdom, there were approximately 24,000 registered veterinary surgeons in 2020.
  • 2. The average annual salary for veterinary surgeons with over 2 years’ experience  in the UK ranges from GBP £40,000 – £55,000, depending on experience and specialisation.
  • 3. The veterinary profession in the United Kingdom is predominantly female, with women comprising 57% of all registered veterinary surgeons.
  • 4. The most common reason for leaving the veterinary industry was ‘poor work-life balance’ with 60% of veterinarians quitting the industry citing this as the main reason.
  • 5.  A locum veterinarian in the UK can expect to earn between £300 – £500 a day
  • 6. The number of veterinary surgeons per capita in the United Kingdom is higher than in any other country in Europe.
  • 7. Approximately 84% of registered veterinary nurses in the UK are female.
  • 8. 37% of veterinarians said they were “actively” thinking about quitting the profession
  • 9. The average age of a registered veterinary surgeon in the UK is 44 years old.
  • 10. The average annual salary for veterinary nurses in the UK ranges from £18,000 to £30,000, depending on experience and location.
  • 11. 53% of Veterinarians in the UK work in a small animal practice
  • 12. Equine veterinarians in the UK worked the most hours of any area of practice, working an average of 50.3 hours a week

Veterinary Industry Facts UK

  • 13. In 2022, people spent over £5.3 billion on veterinary care and other services in the UK.
  • 14. The veterinary services industry grew at 11.3% in 2022.
  • 15. Veterinary services revenue is expected to increase at a compound annual rate of 2.9% to £5.6 billion over the five years through 2022-23
  • 16. In 2018, UK households spent an average of £2.10 on veterinary and other services for pets every week.
  •  17. There were 4,058 veterinary enterprises (practices and other veterinary businesses) based in the United Kingdom in 2018

Animal Ownership Facts UK

  • 18. 53% of UK households own a pet
  • 19. 29% of UK adults own a dog – which is an estimated population of 11 million dogs
  • 20. A total of 3.2 million households in the UK acquired a pet during the pandemic, meaning a huge increase in demand for small animal veterinarians

Summary: Vet Facts Show Growth & in the Industry

These vet facts show that the veterinary profession in the UK is a dynamic and diverse field that plays a vital role in animal welfare, public health, and disease control.

Amazingly, The UK boasts a higher density of veterinarians per capita than any other country in Europe, indicating the importance and demand for veterinary services, particularly since such a sharp rise in pet ownership during the pandemic.

Of course, such a rise in demand brings challenges and steps will need to be taken to ensure veterinarians don’t burn out, with almost 1 in 4 vets thinking about leaving the profession with poor work/life balance being the number one reason vets ultimately change their profession.


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