The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a review looking at consumer experiences and business practices in the provision of veterinary services for household pets in the UK.
It will explore how well the market, worth over £2 billion in the UK, is working for pet owners, including whether they are receiving the information they need at the right time to get appropriate treatment for their pets.
The CMA wants to hear from pet owners and people who work in the industry.
The CMA said it is concerned that pet owners may not find it easy to access the information they need about prices and treatment options to make good choices about which vet to use and which services to purchase.
It acknowledges that households are under strain from the rising cost of living, and it is important that pet owners get value for money from their vets – but figures suggest that the cost of vet services has risen faster than the rate of inflation, which is something that the CMA will be looking into as part of its review.
The ownership of vet practices has also changed in recent years – independent practices accounted for 89% of the UK veterinary industry in 2013, which fell to approximately 45% by 2021.
In some cases, a single company may own hundreds of practices and it may be unclear to people whether their vet is part of a large group.
Sarah Cardell, chief executive of the CMA, said: “Caring for an ill pet can create real financial pressure, particularly alongside other cost of living concerns. It’s really important
that people get clear information and pricing to help them make the right choices.
“There has been a lot of consolidation in the vet industry in recent years, so now is the right time to take a look at how the market is working.”