Only 49 percent of veterinarians believe their profession is appreciated, survey shows

Raising awareness of and celebrating the essential behind-the-scenes care veterinarians provide for animals and communities worldwide was the driving force behind a recent industry survey.

The Going Beyond Survey 2024, conducted by Kynetec on behalf of Boehringer Ingelheim, aimed to present insights on the perceived levels of appreciation for the veterinary profession. A key finding includes only 49 percent of veterinarians believing their job is appreciated.

“Understanding the reasons why veterinarians feel their profession is underappreciated, raising awareness of often unseen and complex aspects of veterinary work, and most importantly, showing veterinary professionals that we recognize their essential work, is an important first step,” says Fabio Paganini, member of the Global Animal Health Executive Committee at Boehringer Ingelheim. “As a veterinarian myself, I know there is so much to love about this job. Together, we can showcase the relentless dedication, the genuine compassion, and the scientific know-how it takes to work as a veterinarian. It truly is a vocation to aspire to.”

The survey, conducted in March, was participated in by 1,056 companion animal, livestock, and equine veterinarians from the U.S., Japan, United Kingdom, France, Brazil, and Germany. The perceived levels of appreciation for the profession were relatively consistent across key types of veterinary teams—with only 48 percent of pet-focused (cats and dogs),55 percent of livestock, and 42 percent of equine veterinary professionals reporting their profession was appreciated. This is despite 75 percent of survey respondents reporting feeling “personally” appreciated by their client base.

Further, the respondents expressed belief their personal clients appreciate their “level of expertise” (66 percent), the “ability to deal with ethical dilemmas (including euthanasia)” (61 percent) and the fact “they provide a large variety of care” (57 percent). However, the survey also revealed clients do not always have full awareness of how far veterinarians push themselves to provide care.

Of the participants, 49 percent felt they were underappreciated by clients when it came to understanding the “resilience to stress and emotional exhaustion” required from the job, with 48 percent reporting an underappreciation of the fact they “work despite feeling physically exhausted” and the way they “trade-off their work-life-balance to help animals.”

Boehringer Ingelheim, together with the Word Small Animal Vet Association (WSAVA), the World Association for Buiatrics (WAB), among other organizations, are working together to help help veterinarians—starting with showcasing veterinary professional compassion and dedication to animal welfare, while highlighting the often-unseen aspects of veterinary care.

“We should not stand quietly as our colleagues leave the ring due to stress and burnout,” says Dr. Ellen Van Nierop, WSAVA president. “Veterinarians are exceptional professionals, who play an essential role in directly maintaining and improving the health and well-being of animals and indirectly, of the whole society. It is imperative that we shine a light on the often-unseen care and effort veterinarians put into forging a healthy and happy society.”

“By celebrating the essential behind-the-scenes work veterinarians do, we can help them feel seen and appreciated so that they hopefully retain their passion for animal care for as long as possible,” adds Prof. Arcangelo Gentile, WAB president, saying the World Veterinary Day 2024 (April 27) serves as the “perfect opportunity to raise awareness of what really happens behind the clinic, farm and stable doors.”

For more information on the survey insights, visit the Boehringer Ingelheim website.