An Oversupply of Veterinarians?

From today’s New York Times:

America may be pet-crazed and filled with people eager to buy expensive fetch toys and heated cat beds. But the total population of pets is going down, along with the sums that owners are willing to spend on the health care of their animals, one of the lesser-known casualties of the recession.

Today, the ratio of debt to income for the average new vet is roughly double that of M.D.’s, according to Malcolm Getz, an economist at Vanderbilt University. To practitioners in the field, such numbers are ominous, and they portend lean times for new graduates.

This article is really surprising and disturbing to me on so many levels. My takeaways:

  1. Virtually all the vets I’ve ever had to bring my cats to have been awesome. It pains me to learn that so many vets are struggling given the important work they do.
  2. Pet ownership and the amount spent on pet health care should rebound as we get further away from the recession. In a country where the population and the economy are growing, more people have pets and they spend money on them. If both numbers continue to drop, that means our future is probably fucked.
  3. The student loan situation is fucked now.