Tips issued for pet owners as full market investigation into UK vet sector announced

The UK’s competition regulator has issued three tips for pet owners amid concerns they are paying too much on vet bills and are not given enough information about treatment options.

It follows a March update of a review into the UK’s £5bn veterinary services industry by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which said pet owners could be paying too much for medicines or prescriptions.

The watchdog on Thursday said it was launching a full market investigation into the UK’s veterinary sector.

It advised animal owners to:

• Shop around for a vet and don’t always go to the closest one

• Ask the vet if there are other treatment options

• Think about buying medication from places other than your vet if it’s not an emergency

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About 60% of vet practices now belong to large companies, up from 10% a decade ago – almost 90% of vets in the UK were independent in 2013.

But that shrunk to around 45% in 2021, according to the regulator.

The six large corporate groups in the UK are CVS, IVC, Linnaeus, Medivet, Pets at Home, and VetPartners.

Roughly 16 million UK households have pets, the CMA said.

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