In Britain there are around 16m household with at least one pet, a large market for vet practices pet services. Many people feel that their vet practice is overcharging for prescriptions and treatment services including medication.

The CMA have launched an investigation into the vet industry which is expected to take around 18 months to finalise the findings. They estimate the vets market is worth £5bn a year.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates the cost of vets and other pet services has increased by 50% since 2015 which high above the overall inflation rates.

Could they be taking advantage of owners' love for their pets and the growing rate at which people are buying pets?

Increases in vet bills are also causing pet insurance prices to rise.

Limited Choice

One factor the CMA is concerned about is the limited choice owners are given for vet practices. This is because since 2013 over half of Britain’s 5000 vet practices have been bought by 6 large firms.

These firms include, CVS Group, Pets at Home, VetPartners, IVC, Linnaeus and Medivet.

Often, when the firms buy practices they will maintain the name and look giving the illusion the practice is independent and reducing the look of competition when owners shop around.


CMA Concerns being investigated

  • Limited option in Vet’s affecting owners.
  • Overpayment of medicines and prescriptions.
  • Whether consumers are given all the correct information to be able to make an informed decision.
  • The profit level earned by vet groups.
  • Whether vet practices have the ability and incentive to limit treatment and service options.
  • Whether market regulation needs an update.


What could CMA do after investigation?

  • They could impose maximum prices on prescription fees.
  • They could order the sale of business widening the options for owners.
  • They could force more information to be given to owners.


Advice for Pet Owners

Make sure to shop around for Vet’s, you may have to go further afield to find cheaper options. This also includes researching the practice and whether they are owned by one of the 6 large firms or not and comparing prices to others in the area.

Ask the vet for all possible treatment plans available and if you feel you aren’t getting the whole story, get a second opinion.

Look into buying safe medication online or in pet shops, if you are unsure ask a qualified vet for advice.

Vet’s and employees at practices have reported facing more cases of abuse from pet owners since the announcement of the investigation as owners express their anger over prices. Often those who work in the practice do not set the prices and have no influence to do so, they will be following policy and vet regulations.

If you are upset by prices or services then look around for a new practice and report the information to CMA for their investigation so regulations can be altered.