Over one-third of vets are planning on selling their practices in the next three years, with many considering selling to a corporate body.

New pet ownership during the pandemic increased turnover in many practices but a new survey of 102 practices conducted last year by HLB Sheehan Quinn, found that vets are still seeking a better work/life balance.

Some 43% of respondents said they work more than 50 hours a week while 23% said they are putting in more than 60 hours a week.

Many corporate vet businesses offer to buy a practice and allow the vet to continue working there without the hassle of administration work. Some 60% of vets surveyed indicated they would consider incorporating their business.

While estimates suggest that corporate vet bodies such as CVS, IVC and VetPartners already own half of the vet practices in the UK, including Northern Ireland, there has been resistance to their growth in the Republic.

Fianna Fáil TD Jackie Cahill introduced a Veterinary Practice (Amendment) Bill to the Dáil last week, which would prohibit ownership of a vet practice by anyone other than a vet.

“Where corporate bodies are able to purchase veterinary practices the level of services decreases and the cost of services increases simultaneously,” Cahill said.

The bill was not opposed and has been taken to the next stage.