Private Practice Vets Earn $121,000



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Survey finds pet vets fared best in 2009.

A  new study shows that the average salary for private practice veterinarians increased by 5 percent from 2007 to 2009.

The figures were based on the 2011 American Veterinary Medical Association Report on Veterinary Compensation, published every two years.

The salary boost—from $115,447 in 2007 to $121,303 in 2009—was largely because of higher earnings by companion-animal-exclusive veterinarians.

Their average salary rose from $113,373 in 2007 to $124,768 in 2009, according to the AVMA study.

Other private practice sectors—mixed animal, companion animal predominant and equine—saw salary decreases. The AVMA attributed the decline to the recession.

The average salary for mixed-animal veterinarians fell by 8.6 percent, to $107,064 in 2009; companion-animal-predominant dropped by 2.4 percent, to $117,524; and equine declined by 3.5 percent, $126,641.

Food-animal-exclusive veterinarians also saw a pay cut, from $139,612 in 2007 to $131,479 in 2009, or 5.8 percent, but they are still the highest paid veterinarians working in private practice, according to the study.

Veterinarians working in public and corporate positions received salary increases from 2007 to 2009, the study reported.

The top-earning veterinarians in 2009 worked in industry, on average earning $167,415.

The statistics primarily represent results from the AVMA’s 2010 Biennial Economic Survey of Veterinarians, which gathered data concerning the type of employment, professional income, practice revenues and expenses, and other employment and practice characteristics.

The survey evaluated actively practicing veterinarians in the United States. Veterinarians who were retired and others not actively practicing were excluded from the sample.

The survey was conducted by U.S. mail. Surveys were sent to a random sample of 16,029 private practice and public or corporate veterinarians in April 2010. The sample consisted of 6,249 veterinarians identified as private practice owners and 9,780 identified as either non-practice owners (associates or public- or corporate-employed veterinarians) or whose employment type was not identified in the membership database. 

Of the 4,497 surveys completed and returned, 76.1 percent were deemed to have usable responses.

Most non-usable responses were due to missing or multiple employment types or because the respondents were not employed either full or regular part time, according to the AVMA.


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